Thursday, April 26, 2012

New Paper on Russian Public Diplomacy

The readers of this blog know of my special interest in and fascination with Russia and Russian public diplomacy. I have blogged on the subject the most and it was also the focus of my Master's capstone project last year. However, my published papers dealt with other subjects in the past, namely Turkish public diplomacy and Hizballah's media strategy. And now, finally, I have something out there that is more systematic and "academic" on the subject of Russian PD, as well.

"Selective Processing: A Strategic Challenge for Public Diplomacy. An Alternative Approach to Russian Public Diplomacy in the United States." Gnovis Journal, Issue II, Spring 2012, Volume XII

ABSTRACT: The information age has made public diplomacy an integral component of statecraft. In essence, public diplomacy is transnational and cross-cultural strategic communication that aims to inform and engage foreign publics. Yet, developments in information and communication technologies (ICTs) have also made it much more difficult to overcome the cacophony and noise, especially in contexts where the audience is not predisposed to listening in the first place. Therefore, there is a need to approach the challenge through alternative communication strategies, incorporating them into the overall nature as well as specific techniques of any public diplomacy strategy. This analysis looks at the case of Russian public diplomacy in the United States, where, even twenty years after the end of the Cold War and various public diplomacy initiatives, public attitude towards Russia is still largely negative. The paper posits that selective processing of information is a potential explanation and suggests relational and network-based approaches to improve the effectiveness of Russian public diplomacy in the US.

This was based on a paper for a communication theory class I took, and one of the building blocks of my final project. Yet, it is still very much a work in progress. That is especially why I would appreciate any feedback, comments and suggestions.

Image from Demotivated Pictures

See the rest of the Gnovis issue.


  1. Public diplomacy is increasingly of interest and it is important for Governments to be transparent and provide information to its population. However I do think it is flawed whereby it is a one-way process. If governments want to be serious about communicating with the people, they need to be open to what they have to say too. For this reason I think concepts such as 'grassroot diplomacy' are much more powerful and effective as this is a two-way mutual interaction between the government and people. By creating a meaningful dialogue between members of civil society and policy-makers, it is more likely to strengthen the connection between the governing and governed.

  2. I certainly agree on the one-way communication process. However, if you look at the more recent discussions/definitions/conceptualizations, you'll see that public diplomacy has been increasingly discussed in terms of a two-way engagement or cooperation, especially in the United States. In the case of other countries, even though they might not necessarily exhibit that it their approach/policies, they too have adopted the lingo and are trying to make sense of it. Even if just for a "show"... if you know what I mean.