Dr. Velikaya's latest study of public
diplomacy in Russia and the USA
with a focus on the post-Soviet countries
The first meeting of the Meeting Russia Online Discussion Club in 2023 took place on March 10. Within this event, Dr. Anna Velikaya represented her study "Public Diplomacy of Russia and the U.S.A.", which is an analysis of different aspects of Russian and American public diplomacy (PD), including cultural diplomacy, sports diplomacy, etc., and "track two diplomacy".

The study of the two PD systems shows some specific traits of their formation, differences, best practices, regional priorities, and development prospects. The study relies on and gives examples of practical cases. It also links American advisors and consultants in strategic and institutional development with the promotion of U.S. interests.
Gist of the presentation:

Most tools that the two compared countries used in PD are the same. However, some instruments are better developed and more frequently practiced:

Tools of the US PD: the image of prosperity associated with the US, career assistance for persons educated in the US, digital diplomacy, people-to-people contacts, arranging feasts on a receiving country's national holidays to flatter the locals.

Tools of the Russian PD: applying to common cultural heritage, material assistance in cases of natural or technogenic disasters, aid during the COVID-19 pandemic, and academic ties.

Alexander Marchukov, PhD, Senior lecturer at the Moscow Timiryazev Agricultural Academy:
  • "Anna Velikaya's book is more of a description of two approaches than a comparison."
  • "American approach in PD is more practical."
  • "In Russia, individual diplomats and enthusiasts seem to be more concerned about Russia's PD than the state."
  • "Russians are too conservative, whereas Americans can use anything – even hip hop or skateboarding – for PD."
  • "Russian scholars should produce innovative ideas and put them into practice."

In the ensued discussion, the participants complimented Dr. Velikaya on her research and spoke of the problems of Russia's PD and the ideas behind it.

Comments and questions from experts
  • "The latest changes in the practices of Rossotrudnichestvo are probably based on the recommendations of the Russian PD scholars."
    Uliana Artamonova, Junior Research Fellow at Center for North American Studies of Institute of World Economy and International Relations (IMEMO), U.S. public diplomacy expert
  • "When they speak in the US about the danger of Russian PD, is it more of trying to procure budgeting for their own PD for the next year, or genuine concern?"
    Alexandra Pavluchenko, Lecturer and researcher at School of World Politics, the Lomonosov Moscow State University
  • "We, even in these trying times, are working to bring the Russian and American youths closer. Currently, we are limited to cultural cooperation. There is toxicity in the Russian-American cooperation."
    Parv Aggarwal, Director of the Russia-US Agency of the Russian-American Youth Alliance
  • "For me as a foreigner it is not clear what fundamental idea is behind the Russian PD. When it comes to the United States, we know what it is: 'America is the land of pursuit of happiness'. They speak about human rights, the American dream, there are so many ideas. But when it comes to Russia, what is the message?"
    Sinisa Atlagic, Head of Center for Russian Studies, University of Belgrade