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Russian soft power is just like Western power but with a twist

Natalia Burlinova‘s article for Russia Direct project on soft power policy in Russia, its peculiarities and challenges it faces.

In late March, Russia’s federal agency for soft power, Rossotrudnichestvo, changed its leader. Lyubov Glebova became the head of this agency, replacing Konstantin Kosachev. This raises important questions about the current state of Russian “soft power.” How effective has it been? What are the distinct features of Russian soft power? Will the Kremlin revise its concept of soft power?

Events in Ukraine have changed the mindset of many people in Russia, who in recent years had believed that their nation was starting to exist in the same reality as the West. As it turned out, things were quite the opposite. Russia and the West are living in completely different, sometimes diametrically opposed spaces, where black is white and white is black, depending on one’s viewing angle. Under these conditions, everyone wishes to convey to the world his or her own truth, his or her reality and his or her views on things.

As part of any information war – and especially as part of the one in which Russia and the West now find themselves, tools aimed at delivering information and establishing contacts with people play an important role. All this is usually denoted by the term “soft power.”

Russian “soft power” is a relatively new concept. Wide acquaintance with this idea occurred just after the collapse of the Soviet Union, but its active implementation into life began only in the 2000s, after the creation of the federal agency on soft power, Rossotrudnichestvo.

For the first time in the Russian political space, the word “soft power” was used by President Vladimir Putin in his article on foreign policy, “Russia and the Changing World,” published in February 2012 as part of his election program. [more...]


Forum of Young Diplomats from CIS countries
Moscow, 24 – 25 April, 2014

On April 24-25, 2014 Center for Support and Development of Public Initiative “Creative Diplomacy” and Analytical Club “SIGN” under the auspices of Young Diplomats’ Council, RF Ministry of Foreign Affairs will host the first Forum of Young Diplomats from CIS countries.

The Forum is planned to become a leading contact point for young generation of diplomats of CIS area. On March 26-27, 2014The key topics of the Forum will be the most critical political and economic issues of international affairs such as the future of the Customs Union, the Common Economic Space, situation in Ukraine and its influence upon the region dynamics as a whole.

The addresses of RF Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sergey Lavrov, and presidential aide, Vladislav Surkov, are expected. Among the key speakers of the Forum will be the representatives of RF State Duma and RF Ministry of Foreign Affairs, prominent experts on international affairs and famous public figures.

The Forum is supported by Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Media partners are Russia Direct (RBHL) and Eurasian Communication Center (International Information Agency “Rossiya Segodnya”).

The project involves financial support allocated as a grant in compliance with the order of the Russian President of 29.03.2013 by No. 115-rp and on the basis of competition, held by the All-Russian public organization “Russian Youth Union».


Pattern of Relationship: Sleeping with a Hedgehog, isn’t it?

On October 16-19, 2012, Baltic-Russia Youth Forum took place in Tallinn, Estonia. It gathered representatives of Academia, NATO political bodies and young experts from Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Russian Federation.

During two days the participants discussed the most difficult aspects of the relationship between Baltic States and Russia. One of the most interesting panels was devoted to discussion of ‘Present and Future Co-operation between NATO and Russia’.

The young experts were suggested to take part in a special workshop devoted to underlining the basic problems of Russia-NATO relations and finding solutions to them. Public Initiative ‘Creative Diplomacy’ was presented at the forum by Liubov Yaroshenko, the Executive Director of the Organization.

Upon the completion of the Forum, Liubov Yaroshenko shared her impressions about the event:


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