Foreign experts consider that Russia hasn’t yet succeeded in creating a positive image

11 june 2014

Analytical Center for the Government of the Russian Federation hosted a roundtable titled “Prospects for development of bilateral relations between Russia and EU”. During the event, foreign and Russian experts discussed the present issues in the bilateral relations between Russia and EU, prospects for future development of Russian and European collaboration in socio-economic sector as well as modelling Russian image on international arena.

“Despite the difficult political relations, the trust that has been formed over the years, is starting to show some results: there are practically no deterioration in business relations with Western partners”, - said the Head of the Department for International Cooperation Denis Ershov in his opening speech.

Head of the national delegation of Hungary in the European Union Committee of the Regions Sandor Nagy presented a report on “Strategic cooperation between Russia and EU in the face of new global challenges”. He pointed out that “We have almost no information about Russia, about its investment climate which make this type of meetings essential for developing mutual trust”. According to him, the most important partnerships start at the regional level. Creation of Sister Cities is an example. “The primary objective is to find a common language. Regional partnerships can reach national or international levels”, - concluded Mr. Nagy.

Experts discussed different topics on cooperation. Head of RCCS Department and of multilateral cooperation within the CIS at Rossotrudnichestvo Sergey Medvedev, talked about the contacts in the humanitarian sphere and expressed his belief that the humanitarian sector has become the basis for economic cooperation which was created using the knowledge about specific features of other countries, personal contacts and trust.

Deputy Director of the Department for Expert Analytics of the Analytical Center Elena Razumova, talked about a possible cooperation between EU and Russia in the field of agriculture and food products. She said that Russia needs the technologies that EU countries have in agricultural machinery and mineral processing of soil. In return, Russia is ready to provide the land for their development on mutually beneficial terms. Cooperation between Russia and China in the Far East underwent a similar discussion.

Issues regarding the creation of Russian image were also discussed. The experts confessed that the global community doesn’t see Russia the way she really is. The available information is scarce and prejudiced. According to Chief Editor of Magyar Demokrata magazine Andras Bencsik, “world is changing but Mass Media continues to serve the interests of the narrow political and business elite”. He noted that Russia hasn’t yet been able to create a strategy that would help to form and maintain its positive image.

Russian and foreign experts made a series of proposals to improve the current situation in the field of Russian public diplomacy. Andras Bencsik encouraged the use of international Mass Media channels: “I urge you to develop a common information platform, which would carry out an adequate information policy and would aid in discovering the real Russia.

Other proposals were made. “Public opinion doesn’t form by itself. If you don’t take care of this, others will do it for you”, - reminded the Head of Budapest Representation at the European Union David Bencsik.