Thursday, October 6, 2011

Some updates; quick thoughts...

I know I've been absent for weeks. Yet again. A lot has happened and I wish I had enough time to reflect and write about it. But since I don't, I thought I'd share a couple of news/videos I kept coming across these days.

Firstly, of course, there's this: the Great Leader (past, present, and future, as we finally found out) of Russia, had not really been all too successful with his archaeological finds back in August, when he took that dive in the Black Sea. Of course it was a set up. The most hilarious thing, however, is that his spokesman openly admitted it. I wonder if he actually has doubles when dealing with tigers and whales. Or when driving the LADA...

Then, there was this peace by Al Jazeera about the celebration of the Grozny Day, in Chechnya. Obviously, it was as much an "international" public statement about where Chechnya has got by now, as much as it was a populist one, to improve "Head of Chechen Republic" Kadyrov's domestic ratings (well, and maybe Future President Putin's). Cheap public diplomacy and PR, many would say; but then, it was obviously not that cheap [I'm sure, the "divine support" will be there for many more years to come]. Yet, seems like very few Western explanations can actually account for the substantial support he does have among the public. Oh well... [And by the way, I sincerely sympathize with Van Damme; he didn't seem all too happy being out there...]

Going to Russia Today... Obviously, after the ridiculous United Russia congress a couple of weeks ago, Putin's popularity around the world needed a boost. Enter, Larry King. [I sometimes wonder if international leaders are now treating him as a global "equivalent" to what Stephen Colbert or Jon Stewart are to the American public: make an appearance and your political ratings will most certainly go up, and/or your product (movie/book) will sell better.] So, Larry King gave an interview to RT, where he discussed Putin's "It Factor"... It's both hilarious and sad; and yet having King doing Putin's "personal public diplomacy" (not to call it PR) is something not to be missed, I think.

Lastly, just a note on the whole "Occupy Wall Street" debacle, that is now spreading all across the country. I don't want to be commenting on U.S. domestic issues here, but in terms of public diplomacy, this case is certainly working against the U.S. image. Such issues and footage, like the one below, are not only detrimental to the international perception of American values (and how they are upheld), but can also be recontextualized and "exploited" by many "information rivals", such as Russia Today. American "public diplomats" have to keep this in mind.

Hope to have more, later...

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