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Putin says image of Russia distorted abroad

July 10, 2012, 14:12 UTC+3
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At the meeting with ambassadors and permanent envoys on Monday Russian President Vladimir Putin said the image of Russia in the world was strongly distorted and called on diplomats to more actively influence the situations involving the country’s interests. The head of state also supposed that it would be good to grant Russian citizenship to all former citizens of the Soviet Union and the Russian Empire.

The meetings in such a format have been held since 2002 once in two years, the Komsomolskaya Pravda daily reported. They are aimed at drawing up the guidelines and setting foreign policy tasks, taking into account the current situation. “It is impossible to be a passive observer of events, it is necessary to more actively influence the situation, which directly affects Russia’s interests. It is necessary to forestall the events and be ready to the most unfavourable developments,” Putin told diplomats.

The image of Russia is distorted abroad and does not reflect the real state of affairs in the country, therefore diplomats have to study new technologies in international relations, Nezavisimaya Gazeta quoted Putin as saying. “Our diplomats mastered traditional methods of international policy rather good, if not perfectly, but as concerns the use of new technologies, for instance, the so-called soft power, there is much to think about,” he said.

“We need to recognize that the image of Russia abroad is not created by ourselves, therefore it is often distorted… And our country’s position in international affairs is covered one-sidedly: those who fire and make regular missile attacks are good ones, while those who stress the need for a restrained dialogue are guilty somehow,” Putin said adding that “we are to blame that we poorly explain our position.”

The chairman of the Federation Council international affairs committee, Mikhail Margelov, said “really, there are still big reserves in the soft power diplomacy, what in other words means the country’s attractiveness is especially important in economic cooperation. It is necessary to bear in mind that soft power does not exclude activity and political thrust in explaining this or that position of ours.”

The president stressed the need for paying special emphasis to stronger relations with China, India and Europe, Novye Izvestiya reported. Under the Putin plan it would be ideal to create a common market from the Atlantic coast to the Pacific Ocean. At the end of his speech Putin mentioned that it is necessary to simplify the granting of citizenship to those who were citizens of the Soviet Union or direct descendant of those who was born in the Soviet Union or the Russian Empire.

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