Andis Kudors: Washington Notes. Visit of Russian Peace Dove.


In early October, when Russia was going on with its aggression against Ukraine, Moscow “peace dove” Igor Ivanov explained the audience in the Woodrow Wilson Center (Washington) that time had come for the big actors to take their seats at the table and discuss how to govern the world. While addressing the US and other countries’ political researchers, I.Ivanov indicated that Russia was not the only country, which was violating international norms, but also the US did so, therefore the major international actors would have to agree on new rules of the game in international politics. According to Ivanov, both sides (the West and Russia) are to be blamed for the Ukrainian events, and construction of walls is a bad style for international relations in the 21st century.

To paraphrase Ivanov, it can be said that his main message was the following: sanctions against Russia will result in nothing; big powers – regional centers – should govern the world (Russia, of course, has to be one of such power centers). Ivanov did not forget mentioning our country, too, stressing that 30% of Latvia residents seemingly lacked citizenship… If the President of the State Putin lied without any hesitation, hasn’t his compatriot Ivanov also the right to do so?

Igor Ivanov is not just the “former one”, he is the president of Russian International Relations Council. The aforementioned institution was established in 2010 with the aim to implement public diplomacy, choosing foreign scientists, experts and opinion leaders as its main target audience. It should be reminded that public diplomacy is used by any country for achieving its official foreign policy objectives, and Russia is not an exception in this sense.

The Russian public diplomacy implementer Ivanov resembled cat Leopold, the character of a cartoon of the Soviet period, who exclaimed: “Davayte zhit druzhno!” (Russian from “Let’s live peacefully!”). The most pitiful moment at the event was the question asked by the moderator of the undertaking, former CNN expert Jill Dougherty, whether Ivanov did not feel lonely with his opinion in Russia (meaning his moderate position and willingness to communicate with the West…). Unfortunately, some of the US experts are not aware of the way of functioning of Russian public diplomacy and of the necessity to consider Russian “peace doves”, who are trying to legitimize Russian aggression, in connection with the Kremlin’s policy. The fact is positive that not all Washington public figures are still viewing Moscow through pink spectacles. Russian aggression against Ukraine has helped many of them to understand what the modern Russia is.