Russia Builds Up Online Diplomacy

Russia has moved to increase its influence in the international arena by encouraging its diplomats to use social media, the Kommersant daily reported on Monday.

The Russian Foreign Ministry is planning to open a Facebook page in the near future and has already launched special courses to teach diplomats how to make the most of their Twitter accounts to help promote Russia’s position on the world stage, the report said.

“To achieve this, special instructions have been sent to all [Russian] embassies,” the paper said.

The ministry is also planning to redesign its official webpage by the end of the year, it said.

Last week, the ministry launched a YouTube account (midrftube) where internet users can watch videos of speeches by Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and other senior Russian diplomats, as well as other video materials related to Russia’s foreign policy and international relations.

During a closed-door meeting with Russian ambassadors last week, President Vladimir Putin urged diplomats to actively use new technologies to improve Russia’s image and defend its interests, Kommersant said, quoting an official who attended the meeting.

“It’s not enough to just crow something once… We should explain our positions again and again, using various platforms and new technologies, until they understand,” the official, who spoke on conditions of anonymity, quoted Putin as saying.

Putin called on Russian diplomats last week to be proactive, constructive, pragmatic and flexible, and promised that Russia’s foreign policy “will remain self-sufficient and independent,” but will not slide into “isolationism or confrontation.”


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