It is necessary to protect the ongoing people-to-people cooperation from becoming yet another bargaining chip in the game of sanctions and counter-sanctions. To the extent possible, the people-to-people dimension of the EU-Russia relations should be insulated from the negative developments in security, political and economic dimensions.
Russia’s image in the Middle East is that of a tough state with a rigid authoritative political rule and an inclination toward hard power in its foreign policy. Indeed, Moscow’s support for some regional hard-liners and opposition to others, as well as its stance as one of the largest arms suppliers to the Middle East, are all grounds for this perception in the region. Although recently Russians have started to pay more attention to its soft power projection in different parts of the world, Moscow has a long way to go to make itself look more attractive on this front.
Several ministries have come up with initiative to raise the quota for foreign students in Russian institutes and universities saying that this would help to promote national interests around the world. The proposal was released for public discussion through the special government web portal, and suggests increasing the quota for state-sponsored scholarships for foreign students from 15,000 to 20,000.
In addition to the state's renewed interest in Belarusisation and cultural initiatives, support for these changes in society is also on the rise. The 'soft' Belarusisation policy and the activity of the organisations such as Art Siadziba are in growing demand in Belarus.
The State Department has people now whose job is to challenge false online claims about the U.S. and our policies. If they’ve been successful, they should expand that effort. It won’t be easy: It has to be done fast and adroitly (two skills not always conjoined in the State Department) to be effective.
The U.N. Security Council draft on Yemen last week was issued as a result of the exceptional diplomatic efforts of the ambassadors of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and the Jordanian presidency of the U.N.