President Putin spoke to ambassadors about the image of Russia.
Better late than never. On July 12 President Vladimir Putin said to Russian ambassadors at the meeting that he had signed the decrees to make Russian Foreign Ministry more effective.
The Ministry will have a new structure: Russian Foreign Minister will have 7 deputies (including the first deputy and general director of Foreign Ministry). The number of the Ministry departments will be reduced to 35 instead of 40.
President Putting spoke with the ambassadors about the image of Russia. According to Vladimir Putin, special campaigns are conducted to discredit Russia. “The image of Russia in the minds of the peoples of your countries of residence, are often far from reality. In addition, planned campaign to discredit our country are conducted quite often. They do harm both to the state and to Russian business”, the President said.
According to Vladimir Putin, Russian embassies abroad should be proactive in creating the impartial image on Russia’s domestic and foreign policy, its history and culture. One of the steps in this direction should be the ongoing celebration of the 60th anniversary of Russia’s victory in the Great Patriotic War.
The positive image of the country is the most important tool to protect Russia’s interests in the world. Russian PR-specialists say that the people all over the globe are poorly informed about the realities of new Russia, is culture and potential for investments, and about its important role in the modern world. Foreign official admit this. “I have never been to the country whose real image was so much different from the one I had in my mind”, said Swiss Ambassador in Russia Valter Fecherin in an interview.
The problem is in Russia’s information policy during the transitional period. Russia tried to demonstrated its economic and political weaknesses to ask for loans and other assistance. The new Russian eleite which came to power on the eve of the new century, has did not start conducting policy to create “stronger” image of Russia. According to Pr-specialists, the information policy of national TV undermines Russia’s reputation: catastrophes and social problems are the primary topics of TV news. For this reason, today Russia’ reputation abroad does harm to Russia: it creates serious obstacle for Russian corporations’ activity, slows down implementation and reduces the scale of investment programs, prevents Russian business from entering the global markets.
Russia did something to solve the problem. In August 2003 Vladimir Putin required several key Ministers to “implement a set of measures to improve the image of Russia among foreign investors”. Vladimir Putin said that changing the structure of Russian economy and strengthening democracy are the main steps for creating positive image of Russia. A year passed, but the negative image was not replaced by the positive one.
According to PR-specialists, Russian government should have “reputation managers”. Establishing some anti-crisis national image center can be of use. The center can comprises all interested parties: corporations, media, state officials and public. Germany and Japan who managed to change their image of military states very quickly after the war, can be taken as an example to follow, RBCdaily wrote.