Thursday, August 3, 2017

Russian Diplomatic Culture and the Image of Diplomats

Olga Krasnyak,

Diplomat/poet Fyodor Tyutchev image from article

[T]he emergence of public diplomacy with the tools of digital diplomacy made Russian diplomats visible and more accessible. The unvarnished reality of diplomatic practices and behavior of some diplomats turned out to be quite disturbing to the public eye. While the Russian Federation diplomatic corps still remains a relatively closed establishment, the interest in diplomats and in their behavior will be strong. If the image of diplomats is not considered appropriate, harsh critique is unavoidable.

Of course, many Russian diplomats represent their country accordingly, following the best diplomatic traditions and practices, and the diplomats’ service and postings contribute to forming the positive brand of the country. However, some exceptional examples of high-ranking diplomats might serve a negative role for national branding. Maybe it is good sign that following certain standards in diplomatic culture and concern about the image of the country is demanded by the Russian public. In this case we might be optimistic that public diplomacy fixes, if not corrects, the flaws in diplomatic practice and can potentially improve the image of diplomats on the international scene.

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