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|Society & You - Social Critic|
|Monday, 30 July 2012 19:30|
This post is part of our special coverage of International Relations and Security [en].
Georgia, located in southern Russia, is a typical small country: it has a small population, a developing economy, and territorial disputes with its larger neighbor, Russia. In August 2008 when Russia briefly invaded the small country, no one was particularly surprised that Georgia was unable to counter this display of force.
By definition, a small state can not project enough military or economic strength to face a security threat. Since these options " hard power "are not available to them, small states often are left to the" soft power "as the only way to influence their opponents. The soft power , comes in many forms, one of the most important of public diplomacy [in] and propaganda efforts traditionally expensive. Fortunately for Georgia, soft power is easier to run in this age of global communications.
To be a politically hostile state (wants to join NATO and has long opposed the entry of Russia into the WTO), Georgia surprisingly has a good reputation among Russian public opinion. This is partly due to the historical relationship between Russia and the country, and the Russian affinity for food and wine from Georgia. Another reason, however, Georgia is the use of online communities to project soft power.
Although many blog in Georgian Georgian, there is an appreciable amount of Georgians in the Russian-speaking blogging platform more popular [in] Russia, LiveJournal (LJ) (a list of 200 such bloggers can be found here [ru]. If someone you know from these bloggers, is cyxymu [ru].) Abkhazian This blogger makes an average of forty comments per day, it conviere in a "face" familiar to fans of the RuNet (Russian Internet).
cyxymu often involves controversial Russian bloggers on the Russian-Georgian relations. For example, he covered extensively the conflict of 2008, and apparently reached the radar of someone as a result. In 2009 his Twitter account and blog suffered DDoS attacks [on] in a way similar to the Russian opposition members clashed recently [in].
Coincidentally, a member of the Russian opposition blogs and currently lives in Georgia, Oleg Panfilov [ru] (olegpanfilov2). His original blog was hacked by the hacker known Hell [in], and now writes seven posts a day, which condemns the Kremlin, or extolling the virtues of his Georgian counterpart.
In general, these and other Russian bloggers give an idea of everyday life in Georgia, often with images [ru]. Although algunnos of them can be critical of the government of Saakashvilli, often give rave reviews of the reforms started. The Georgian bloggers are aware of his Russian readers, in fact, as described in a roundtable in Tbilisi on June 14 [ru], many of them written in Russian precisely to attract this audience.
Meanwhile, the Georgian government has a different approach. Recently, the photo-blogger quoted Russian Rustam Adagamov was invited to visit Georgia by the Ministry of Economy. The various posts he wrote after his return are a mixture of travel writing [ru] and a copy of the advertisement of the renewed Justice Department and police force [ru] Georgians.
Adagamov is just the latest in a steady stream of Russian bloggers invited to Georgia by various government agencies. Police in Georgia, apparently free of corruption is a very popular subject. Last year, another photo-blogger, zyalt made a post [ru] very similar, which was compiled from the authors previous posts [ru], drawing accusations of blogging on request.
Although the government of Georgia seems to be following a conscious strategy to co-opt the Russian public through the intelligent use of new media, it is unclear whether it will soon see results. After all, public diplomacy works best in a functioning democracy.
This post and its translations into Spanish, Arabic and French have been commissioned by the International Security Network (ISN) as part of an alliance to locate voices of citizens around the world on issues of international relations and security.