Russia drafts 3-year foreign PR plan based on soft power – report
Russia could improve its image through science and culture centers, the promotion of the Russian language, and youth festivals, in plans put forward by a Russian government agency.
It has been prepared by the Federal Agency for International Humanitarian Cooperation and the Kommersant business daily reviewed a draft of the document in its Tuesday issue. In particular, the authorities intend to hold a major Youth and Student festival in Moscow in 2017. Similar festivals were twice held in the USSR – in 1957 and 1985 and became major events both in the country and in the world. The agency wants to attract more young foreigners to Russia through raising the foreign student quotas at Russian universities as well as re-launching the ‘houses of friendship’ with foreign nations – large state-sponsored culture centers.The plan includes measures to support the Russian language such as aide to the Russian-language media, launching language courses for future immigrants and opening a network of offices that would offer official certificates of proficiency in Russian on the basis of the existing centers of Russian science and culture abroad. The Cooperation Agency also says the number of these science and culture centers should be increased and the existing 59 offices should undergo modernization. There are also plans to open special centers for postgraduate studies and branches of Russian museums. The agency suggests the web-sites of all culture centers post “an anthem in prose” – a special text about Russia prepared together by the Cooperation Agency and the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Culture and Communications. This is the first major program prepared by the International Humanitarian Cooperation Agency that was set up in 2012. The head of the organization, Konstantin Kosachev, refused to comment on the document saying that it was still being prepared. Vladimir Putin raised the issues of giving a true image of Russia to foreigners in his article ‘Russia and the Changing World’ published at the time of the presidential elections. These questions are also mentioned in the last document on Russia’s foreign policy prepared in 2012.