Recently in Russia there was a widespread discussion on the need for more active use of soft power to achieve its national interests. The question is undoubtedly correct. As obvious and the problems that Russia faces along the way. Consider this question in more detail.
What is "soft power" and what it "eat"
The most authentic and detailed description of the concept of "soft power" in Russian-speaking analyst belongs, in my opinion, Elena Ponomareva. In its analysis of this issue in the article "true grit "soft power" it gave a fairly complete analysis of the historical context of the emergence of this concept and the main content, put it in. So, the founder of the concept of "soft power" in 1990 was Joseph Samuel Nye. In 2004 he published his book "Soft Power: The Means to Success in World Politics" (Soft power: the Means to success in world politics). According to Ponomareva, "the primary meaning of soft power lies in the formation of an attractive power, i.e. the ability to influence the behaviour of individuals, indirectly forcing them to do what they otherwise would never do. This power becomes based not only on convincing, persuading or ability to encourage people to do something through the arguments, but on the "assets" that produce its attractiveness. To achieve this, according to Nye, probably using "the power of information and of images", the power of the senses. In other words, the core of "soft power" — the intangible, information, and mobility".
However, does this mean that before the concept of "soft power", these are very soft redirect emphasis in human consciousness and "peresyhaniya" signs - not used? Of course, no. Here we can recall and the arrival of Christianity in pagan lands not only in Rome but also Russia, and the emergence of Protestantism, and other large and small ideological and philosophical theories. They all waged battle on the field of human consciousness in the sense generating new indications of already existing characters and create new ones.
Therefore, the merit of Naya, in my opinion, is not that he opened a new field of struggle or interaction of ideas, and conceptualized this subject area had introduced more stringent definition than had been earlier projected and theoretical findings to the practical level of big politics that was immediately noticed by the American public and the military apparatus, is extremely interested in the development of new forms and management methods consciousness to a tighter control of the consciousness of the oppressed peoples of the world and create a more sustainable hegemonic foreign policy concept.
If you do not delve into the history and restrict the twentieth century, for example, the time after the Second world war was full of not only political and military confrontation between the two superpowers – the USSR and the USA, which mostly did not go further low intensity conflict, but their struggle in the realm of meanings, and who showed the confrontation between the methods of "soft power". And we, and they possessed a well-developed and comprehensive system of ideology (values) - communism (socialism) vs. capitalism. We and they had their own camp of allies, with whom broadcast their values on the rest of the world. We and they are prepared and trained of the elites in order to have the conductors of the influence of their national-state interests. Accordingly, in the framework of the existing concepts of "soft power" the whole complex of humanitarian-cultural sphere: art, music, painting, literature, philosophy, cinema etc All this before, as now, were the mechanisms of "soft power".
The collapse of the USSR: neither hard nor soft power is not left
What has changed after the collapse of the USSR. After leaving the historical scene of the Soviet Union Russia has for years remained not only without necessary to conduct its national-state interests of "hard power" in the form of a modern and capable Armed forces, relying only on inherited from the Soviet Union nuclear mechanism of deterring the aggressor, but without soft power, since you can't use the tools if they have nothing to play – not enough to have a violin, it has a tune that the fiddle would play. With this, for example, in my opinion, is the problem of holding the interests of Russia using the tools of "soft power" in the post-Soviet space – that there is no coherent system of values which should hold the mechanism. This same conclusion is also valid for instruments of "soft power" of Russia in the far abroad.
And if today Russia is literally and very actively restores in full the tools of "hard power", in relation to the main problem – the realization of their objectives in a way "soft power" - is still only on the verge of understanding. Yes, today came to the conclusion about necessity of restoration of mechanisms of "soft power". Well, this is progress. Undoubtedly, it must be done and mechanisms to develop. However, in my opinion, a much more important problem, and it has once again appears on the horizon of Russian foreign policy is the issue of content, the values, the ideology, which will be broadcast these mechanisms of "soft power". And here, again, in my opinion, there are a number of very serious and systemic problems.
I'll give you a simple but topical example. Now three countries – Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan - based Eurasian Union. What is the ideology of this process? Can the main ideology of the Eurasian Union to be the idea of building the Eurasian Union? And its broadcast to the neighbors? To some extent, Yes – in this regard, become relevant to the processes of joint protection against external forces, protect the domestic market from unfair competition again by external players, free market of capital, investment, labour, etc., i.e. mainly socio-economic. They are undoubtedly important.
However, equally important are the people and problems of humanitarian plan – what kind of world we are going to build the members of the Eurasian Union? What would it be – communism, socialism, capitalism or market socialism, capitalism with a human face? The ratio of public and private. The permissible level of income for owners of capital, top management of banks and large corporations, etc., i.e. talking about a social model is society for all or for the elect. I to some extent I exaggerate, but only to a sharper formulation of the problem. And further we will restrict ourselves to the system of values of post-Soviet space only or will be willing, like the Soviet Union to offer it to all the Nations of the world as a model for the just world for all peoples and countries. I.e. are we ready to talk again about the global project, that we have a new world project, or until we draw a model of the world only for themselves.
Ideology as a system of values need to be reinvented
Why I went so "far". The fact that the internal logic of the development of any mechanisms of "soft power" is that it may be typical only of the expansionist project. If there is no expansion, and soft power is impossible, both at the level of concepts and at the level of mechanics – there is nothing to broadcast. If the mechanism has nothing to promote, it will not work – will refer to the already cited example of the problems with the promotion of Russian interests in the post-Soviet space and the movement of Russian compatriots. The movement is, i.e. the mechanism of "soft power", and the content is not. I.e. the mechanism of "engine" to work, it is necessary to pour the "butter" ideas that should promote Russian structures, including the movement of Russian compatriots in the former Soviet Union.
About the same, in fact, in an interview to "Rossiyskaya Gazeta" said Vitaly Tretyakov: "I thought and still think that the fate of Russia – the development and... expansion. But not in the sense of military conquest and economic takeovers, and in terms of influence. After all, if you have no influence in this world, affect you. It's no secret that the natural expansion of the influence of the Russian Federation today is the space within the borders of the former USSR (or other variations). This process will inevitably be someone to scare and someone will be sure to haunt and start seeing visokogradnya chauvinism, neo-imperialism and the desire to restore the Russian Empire. Pointless to argue with that, because if you have the bogey in front of his eyes and believes that it's bad, how to convince him?"
The evening of memory of Alexander Pushkin or essays of students on the subject - that would mean Russia, commemorative events important historical dates and events, was undoubtedly important. However, what is their "weight" and significance must be in the same Rossotrudnichestvo abroad – 100% or only 10%? - And the remaining 90% of time, energy, and resources have yet to be thrown on a completely other system things generally outside the interests of Russian instruments of "soft power" in the former Soviet Union.
It may be worth, as Western centres of soft power, pay more attention to the work of humanitarian, scientific and bureaucratic elites of post-Soviet countries. What proportion of time and effort needs to go for this purpose – 10%, 30% or 50%? Today – 0%. And such serious systemic issues – just a mass.
I'm not even talking about the need to radically change the situation with Russian compatriots ' organizations, it is time to transform them from marginal meetings of pensioners and clubs in the real mover of the Eurasian integration processes. But it takes people, ideas. None of this today.
Of course, someone will say that to analyze the current state of Affairs? That it is bad - is so well known, they say, tomorrow will be better. Let's talk about the positive. But will it be better tomorrow? This is, for example, in his article "Why the "updated" Concept of foreign policy of the Russian Federation is seen as obsolete", is devoted to the analysis of the new concept of Russian foreign policy was written by such a recognized authority of the Russian diplomatic school as Michael Demurin.
What he writes: "later in this section of the Concept, we again meet with what clearly does not apply to foreign policy objectives, but merely the means to achieve them, the tools used for this. I mean "the deployment of non-discriminatory international cooperation", "facilitating the formation of flexible non-aligned network of alliances and participation in them", "the discrimination of Russian goods, services and investment, using to the international and regional economic and financial organizations", "advocacy in various international formats to the Russian approaches to the protection of human rights". With all due respect, do not pull on the level and purposes of such important areas of foreign policy work, dissemination and strengthening of positions of Russian language in the world, "promoting" cultural achievements of the peoples of Russia and consolidating the Russian Diaspora abroad. All this - the tools to achieve one fundamental objective: providing decent position in the modern world as an independent cultural-historical types (civilizations)".
I enlisted the opinion of such an influential diplomat in order to share this thought - cannot be the goal of the Russian movement in Belarus, for example, promotion of Russian culture or the Russian language is all the tools. Again I refer to the experience of the Soviet Union – Yes, the Soviet regime promoted itself, but even more it was promoted as a tool to counter the unfair capitalist world, and even more as a tool for building a bright future, scientific progress, space travel, etc. And all understand why they are building a socialist society is to make people's lives rightly and prosperity, and to have been realized the oldest dream of mankind.
In this regard, those school dictations and evening memory – only a small part of the work, and it is in no way should be placed in the center and to occupy a dominant position to the other, much more pressing topics. Accordingly, at the level of the Eurasian perspective - may not be the dominant soft power in Eurasian performed by promoting the idea of Eurasian Union. We need to promote a completely different thing, which will say – Yes, the Eurasian Union is strength, we need him. But you can not say, but simply to oblige to admit it. And it will also be instruments of "soft" and not hard power.
I.e., need a more skilled and multi-level work with the whole set of problems from the ideas, value systems, to the mechanisms of resource support and availability set high and challenging people. While none of the above no. And they are possible only in the presence of the expansionist project. And project even today there is. Only one "economic" understanding of the Eurasian Union as necessary to create a full-fledged market of 250-300 million people is clearly not enough, because all the main humanitarian objectives of this Association in this context remain unsolved.
Accordingly, these questions should be in the center of formation of the Russian concept of "soft power", because the problem is in them. Once you have solved these fundamental conceptual issues of creating our new system of values, the Russian, Belarusian and Kazakh society come to a consensus about them, much the same as it was in the Soviet system of values, only then it will be possible to broadcast on the existing implementation mechanisms, which, in principle, already established, only operate in the idle mode.
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