How to Address the ‘Humanitarian Dimension’ of Russian Foreign Policy?
Arvamus 03 Mar 2010  EWR
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Juhan Kivirähk, Diplomaatia

Russia’s objective to create a common ‘Russian diaspora’ of its compatriots and Estonia’s wish to integrate more effectively its Russian-speaking population constitute two competing paradigms.

It is quite usual that large nations believe it is their mission to spread their language and culture in the world. In Estonia, we are well acquainted with such organisations as the Goethe Institute, the British Council, the Centre Culturel Français, the Pushkin Institute, and so on. Globalisation inevitably leads to stronger cultural, educational and scientific links and closer humanitarian cooperation between countries. Obviously, these processes increase the domination of bigger cultures and, in a way, their spheres of influence in the foreign policy arena.

The ability to affect the behaviour of a target group through cultural attraction and by setting a positive example was defined by Joseph S. Nye as ‘soft power.’ The key components of a state’s ‘soft power’ are its culture, values and policies. According to Nye, the main instruments for the implementation of ‘soft power’ are public diplomacy, the mass media, exchange programmes, the provision of development aid, and so on.1 One of the preconditions for the integration of East European states within the European Union was the very attractiveness of Western values and lifestyle, together with their desire to embrace (or return to) Western culture.

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