British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson spoke out against the complete severance of relations between the United Kingdom and Russia. In other circumstances, one could find in his position a hint of restraint or a desire to designate at least some opportunity for a constructive dialogue, despite the hysteria surrounding the "Skripal case." However, the problem is that Johnson does not really need anything constructive. With touching candor, the British minister explained the logic of his desire to preserve Anglo-Russian contacts: "But this does not mean that all contacts must be stopped and all interaction stopped, and I will tell you why." I believe that Britain, in spite of everything , many in Russia admire. "
In these words of the head of British diplomacy lies the whole essence of how the British political elite looks at the world in general and specifically on Russia.
Contacts at the level of ordinary citizens, diplomatic channels, joint work of NGOs, people's diplomacy, cultural exchange, joint scientific projects, tourism and other forms of normal interaction - all this for the UK is nothing more than the tools necessary to accomplish a simple but incredibly effective double-hulled. Step one: to ensure that in a different society a significant number of citizens are formed who genuinely admire England, its culture, politics and way of life. Step two: the transformation of these "admired Anglophiles" into an instrument of British political influence.
In the above scheme there is no conspiracy, and if someone thinks that the "admiration" of another's civilization can not be used as a powerful political tool, then it should be recalled that the greatest catastrophe of the 20th century - the collapse of the USSR - occurred clearly not because the Union does not missiles or tanks were enough. Of course, the main reasons are to be found in the planes of the economy and the mass betrayal of the Soviet political elite, but the fact that the post-Soviet society has gone on the path of total self-destruction and not self-reform is also associated with that reinforced concrete public confidence that "everything is fine in the West, , how to". This confidence was the result of an ideally effective multi-year work of American and British "soft power". Unfortunately, our country is just beginning to master the techniques of modern forms of "soft power", but the painful and very tough reaction demonstrated by the collective West in response to the success of RT TV channel or Sputnik agency shows how important for our opponents the sphere of "soft power" "and what they are ready to go so that Russia does not have this very" power ".
In order to describe the instruments of "soft power" that the UK enjoys, in modern conditions it is not necessary to resort to conspiracy constructs, to appeal to special services or political scientists. As an authoritative source, it is worth using the official (!) And very meticulous 150-page report of the special committee of the British House of Lords, compiled in 2013-2014, entitled "Persuasion and power in the modern world". This document was developed by the "Committee on Soft Strength and British Influence", including with a view to describing exactly how all forms and elements of the British "soft power" should be used and coordinated among themselves. Significantly, as a landmark example of its application, combined with the threat of "tough (that is, military) force," British lords lead the British to participate in the Syrian crisis. What hints at what state the United Kingdom would like to bring to the victims of using its "soft" instruments of influence.
The report of the House of Lords lists and describes the following instruments of "soft power": diplomacy, humanitarian aid and charity programs, "British values", trade with the UK, the image of the UK as a very rich country, tourism, the British education system, scientific cooperation, and programs learning English and even English sports. A separate class is a class of instruments called "Culture, influence, soft power and trust," and it includes the British Council, "cultural events" and "creative industry" - that is, everything related to design, branding, advertising, and so on. . So, when the Russian Foreign Ministry "blocked" the activities of the British Council in Russia as a retaliatory measure directed against the Kingdom, in fact, it was not so much "the elimination of the opportunities of Russians for cultural exchange and the teaching of English" as the liquidation of the presence in Russia of one of the the most important tools of the British "soft power".
It is worth emphasizing the quote from the report, which well echoes the position expressed by Boris Johnson:
"The global influence of the United Kingdom rests on his reputation as a place of the highest professionalism, creativity and ingenuity, as well as the status of a world leader in finance, law, science, research, art and the creative industries." This reputation of the leader, as well as "the highest professionalism, creativity and ingenuity" - is the very "admiration" that the leader of British diplomacy spoke of when referring to "many in Russia".
Fortunately, Johnson himself does a lot to radically reduce the effectiveness of the British "soft power" and that admiration turns into contempt. But do not overestimate its effectiveness in this good work. Every time users of the Russian segment of social networks read and disseminate anglophile conspiracy texts of another "fashionable" publicist who writes that in London there is the actual capital of the world and there lives a truly clever, aristocratic and all-powerful elite that does not like "lapotnym Russian politicians ", you need to know: this creates in the heads of our fellow citizens bridgeheads for the British" soft power. " When a large part of the Runet and the media field in Russia are busy admiring the details of the celebration of the next anniversary, wedding or birth of a child in the British royal family, this means that we literally observe how the British "soft power" is installed in the brains of our fellow citizens. The fact that in the Russian regions you can find more fans of some British football teams than a local club means that at least in terms of sporting terms, the British "soft power" carried Russian officials out of the sport in one wicket. And the fact that there are young people in Russia who are really worried about the political views of the British Russophobe actor Hugh Laurie and who for the first time thought about the meanings laid down in War and Peace only after watching the BBC mini-series is a serious problem Russian culture and educational system. Undoubtedly, now the situation is much better than it was ten, and even more so two decades ago, but we still have a huge front of work.
All of the foregoing in no way means that there is a need for censorship and bans on the consumption of some British content. No, it would be suicidal. The forbidden fruit is sweet, and the USSR has already experienced all the disadvantages of the policy of cultural prohibitions. To successfully confront the British, and any other "soft power" should raise the quality standards of the Russian "soft power" - so that it was competitive at least in the Russian market. And this should apply to everything - from scientific and educational programs and courses to sports competitions and cinematography. This is a difficult task, but if it is not resolved, then we risk being in a situation in which Boris Johnson will be right. And this is not only humiliating, but also insulting. Take the best from all, do even better, and then surprise the whole world and make him fall in love with Russia - this is the most correct answer to any challenges of the anti-Russian "soft power".