The system problems still awaiting solution are
: increasing academic mobility, creating a system of short-term grants for foreign students and other target audiences, grant support for foreign organizations, constant interaction with foreign political elites, etc. Had the problems been solved a decade earlier, such measures could have slowed down the humanitarian degradation and estrangement from Russia of Ukraine and other post-Soviet countries. But laws were enacted to make the activity of organizations involved in international contacts even more complicated instead of simplifying it. And the field of the Russian public diplomacy was shrinking.
An important element of the construction of humanitarian cooperation within allies' relations is focusing on the ally and its specialness. Soft power envisages not only the self-marketing, or promoting one's own culture or demonstrating own significance as an ally, but also respect and attention to the ally, implementation of projects important and interesting for it, connected with its cultural peculiarities, regardless of its size and geography.
Political orientation on soft power means that elites focus on developing their own country, creating a modern intellectual society with high demand for education, science, high-tech solutions, with competitive advantages on the international arena. Countries become allies if they know they will not bargain or step back and will protect each other's interests in any case because their long-term interests do not contradict each other.
Soft power and alliance are interconnected, the former providing a solid foundation for the latter. Of course, hard power can win allies, too, but such alliances will not be based on mutual approval and genuine partnership. The Soviet Union used to gain allies with hard power. Russia needs true allies to build a future together, driven together by common interests, aims and tasks, not desperation.
For this, our political elites must be made up of new people – those with strategic thinking, far-sightedness and patience, and new concepts of domestic and international development of Russia. They will make Russia attractive for potential allies and offering hope to build the future together. Russia has such people.Originally published by RIAC