To gain influence internationally, a country must portray an attractive image. There’s no question that Russia’s identity is slowly changing. But there doesn’t seem to be a defined goal or the road to get there.
The appeal of Russia must be understood by more than just a handful of world celebrities, the most recent one being Gerard Depardieu. Although not attractive to all, Russia’s soft power policy is not being ignored. Witness the convening of a special session on the topic by the Foreign Affairs committee of the Estonian parliament.
After the session, Marko Mihkelson, the committee chair, stated that Estonia should be better prepared to deal with the ‘informational‘ aspects of Russia’s foreign tactics, which are known to be on the increase – information operations that are meant for the consumption of Europe’s older members states.
Observers indicate that Moscow has been concerned about the fallout from the “Arab spring’ and the extent to which Twitter can mobilize attitudes and mass action. This has motivated a pro-active stance in the Kremlin, which in turn translates into a ‘a best defensive is offense’ mind-set. The leadership knows well that Russia’s image is not one about which they can boast, therefore a more radical approach is necessary in attempts to improve it. (Loe edasi Eesti Elu 24. mai paberlehest)
Is Russia’s soft power not soft enough for the world and too soft for the Kremlin?