Staunton, October 22 – Russia’s Znak news agency reports that the Valdai Discussion Club that Vladimir Putin has assembled each year since 2004 has as its most important task the promotion of “a positive image of Russia in foreign media” (znak.com/2020-10-22/skolko_stoit_pozitivnyy_obraz_rossii_v_zarubezhnyh_smi_na_primere_valdaya).
That is reflected not only in the fact that the Russian government agency behind it, Rospechat, is all about the media but also by the declaration in the terms of reference of its Valdai Club project that the meeting is first and foremost about promoting “a positive image” of that country in international media.
The meeting, on which Moscow is prepared to spend millions of rubles, attracts leading Russian politicians, scholars and commentators as well as public figures of various kinds from the West, this year had as its subject, “The Pandemic’s Lessons and a New Agenda: How to Transform the World Crisis into a Chance for Peace.”
It is no surprise that the Kremlin uses such efforts to influence foreign media – that is what most observers naturally assume -- but it is unusual for the Russian authorities to admit that this is what they are doing with a meeting that at least ostensibly is intended to promote international understanding and harmony.
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