Reactions to Cultural Interventions in Russia
by Samuel Jones
I thought it was worth posting a selection.
In last week's Guardian, Simon Jenkins argued that 'culture and lifestyle are the diplomacy of the 21st Century' - very much an echo of his earlier article in response to our pamphlet.
The BBC website featured an article by a recipient of a British Council scholarship, funded to spend 10 months in Russia in the 1970s. The author reminds readers that 'in the 1990s, the pro-Western Yeltsin years, the Russian government was delighted when the UK opened British Council branches in a whole series of provincial towns' and conludes that 'Cultural diplomacy is no longer a political backwater' , echoing David Miliband's warning that 'the only losers from any attack on the British Council are Russian Citizens'.
In The Times, Ben McIntyre suggests that 'if more effort had been made after the collapse of communism to win over future leaders to an appreciation of British Culture, then perhaps the current diplomatic explosion might have been avoided'.
On The Guardian's Comment is Free, Anna Matveeva takes a more realist approach to the crisis in Russia, suggesting that culture has been brought into the fray first as a medium in whihc to attack perceptions of current British values, and second out of care 'not to act in a way that would disrupt business interests', and in pursuit of 'symbolic targets'.