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A charm offensive in the offing?

April 29, 2014

Whilst The Kremlin is engaged in rewriting European geography through force in total disregard to international and regional legal instruments – and in doing so subjecting itself to some serious image damaging fallout – it seems that perhaps some attempt at mitigation may well be in the offing.

2014, the year of Russian culture – So what?  Russian culture cannot repair the damage caused by such irresponsible and reckless acts towards Ukraine today – and by extension the European and international order.

Quite so, it can’t – or at least it shouldn’t – but all things are connected even when they appear not to be in Russian diplomacy.

Currently the world is being reminded of the part Russian culture that creates dissidents, exiles, reactionaries and revolutionaries and a very wary neighbourhood – distinctly negative portraits.  A particularly prickly image and one not welcome on the world stage.

So how best to sooth or remove those barbs?

A partial tactical pivot in soft power employing the use of a very rich and globally renowned culture.

Time to roll out those historical greats across literature, philosophy, music and art – and combine them with the best Russian performers of the present day – projected at extravagant events and well choreographed celebration via the huge network of embassies and consulates across the globe.

Particular attention paid to influential nations naturally, ( but also a time to remind the domestic audience just how great a nation Russia is as the hardships mount up at home).

The international target audience – those who frame national argument.  Those politicians, diplomats, business leaders and media networks that attend such functions and will then leave with a far higher regard – and perhaps understanding – of Russia.

The message being that current Kremlin shenanigans should not colour the empirical view too greatly.

Pure nonsense of course – No matter how great a culture a nation may have, the deliberate and prolonged aggression and destabilisation of a neighbouring State because it has a different vision of its future than the one you would prefer, cannot be removed from the sharp focus the issue currently has on the international and regional stage by a little Tchaikovsky.

Or can it?  Poking around the Internet, there are no end of “useful idiots” great and small it seems.

 

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