"Russian world" : Russia's cultural diplomacy programs in Europe
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In recent In recent years, Russia has been increasingly active in international affairs, reasserting itself as a major player in world politics. In the realm of soft power initiatives, Russian foreign policy has also seen a renewal of efforts. Russia’s foreign policy concepts in 2013 and 2016 defined a comprehensive soft power strategy, including the expansion of public diplomacy programs abroad. In particular, Russia has invested significant resources into the development of their cultural initiatives. This research explores the activities of the primary Russian actor in cultural diplomacy abroad, the Russkiy Mir Foundation, focusing on comparative case studies of countries in Western and Eastern Europe – Germany and Ukraine. The paper seeks to answer the questions: what are the goals of the Russkiy Mir Foundation in these regions and countries? Do their activities and goals differ in the West and the East? What relevance do these activities have in the wider scope of Russian foreign policy? This research finds primarily that cultural diplomacy programming does vary between Russia’s programs in Western and Eastern Europe – in the West, Russian programs are a hybridization of traditional Soviet cultural diplomacy and modern Western practices, while in Eastern and post-Soviet spaces, Russian methods show much more continuity with the Soviet era of cultural diplomacy. The role of active measures plays a continuing role in Russian cultural policies in both the West and the East.