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Russia has no comprehensive soft power concept – Konstantin Kosachev

October 31, 2012, 16:59 UTC+3
"Soft power differs from hard power by the fact that the first one means territory subordination and the second one means possession of people’s mind"
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 MOSCOW, October 31 (Itar-Tass) — Russia has no comprehensive soft power concept, head of the Federal Agency for the CIS Affairs, Compatriots Living Abroad and International Humanitarian Cooperation Konstantin Kosachev said.

Speaking at a session of the Russian Public Council for International Cooperation and Public Diplomacy at the Public Chamber on Wednesday, Kosachev said, “Soft power differs from hard power by the fact that the first one means territory subordination and the second one means possession of people’s mind. During the Cold War times, the Soviet Union and the United States had relative power parity. At present, Russia does not take the lead in terms of soft power.”

Kosachev referred to the data of different rating under which Russia ranks 28th or 10th.

“Today Europe uses soft power rather actively as Americans do. About five years ago China included in this work. In Russia there is no concrete concept of soft power,” the official said.

“There are many versions what could be attractive for foreign observers. The dispersion of opinions is colossal: from references to the great Russian literature to the environment and the enigmatic Russian soul.” “It would be wrong for Russia to be gaining on competitors whether they are Americans with ‘their own American dream’ or Europeans with their model of democracy and prosperity,” Kosachev stressed.

To this end, he proposed the soft power concept for Russia that would be based on three key moments. “This is the model of equal partnership where we are ready to work with partners without preconditions. This is security where we consistently call for upholding the fundamental principles of international law and where we can maintain a serious balance to the problems, which Americans and their Euro-Atlantic allies put forth. This is the readiness to respect the sovereignty of partners and not to interfere into their internal affairs,” Kosachev said.

In the meantime, Gatilov said the unification of official and public diplomacy in using “soft force” will strengthen Russia’s authority on the international arena. “At a conference of Russian ambassadors and permanent representatives Russian President Vladimir Putin stressed the need to take serious efforts aimed at using ‘soft force’ in order to promote Russian interests on the international arena. The implementation of this task is designed to help create favourable conditions for sustainable development of the state and for using innovation in the economy.”

“It is clear that it is more comfortable to contact with a dynamically developing partner and agree with him on the resolution of global issues,” the deputy foreign minister said.

Gatilov said it is important to involve civil society in foreign policy. In his words, the broad participation of non-governmental organisations and business in world political forums will help resolve many problems. “It is important for the world to get genuine information on Russia,” he said. “Of course, ‘soft force’ is a double-edged instrument. The image of Russia is not often formed by us and sometimes it is distorted. Often Russia’s position is interpreted as unilateral,” the diplomat said.

 

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