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Regular version of the site

Article

Foreign ministry’s spokesperson in public diplomacy: a case of Russia

The Russian Journal of Communication. 2020. Vol. 12. No. 2. P. 1-20.

This article discusses the role of spokesperson in Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA). A spokesperson’s official role in frontline diplomacy is viewed and analyzed through the lens of public diplomacy to promote a nation-state’s foreign policy when engaging with foreign audiences and influencing public opinion. This article first investigates the history and approaches for Soviet-acting spokespersons who primarily targeted Americans and Western Europeans through the media and TV, although in accordance with mutually accepted conditions of hosting states. The article then assesses changes in world politics and communication technologies and evaluates the digital public diplomacy dimension that has shaped the spokesperson’s communication strategies. Finally, the article evaluates current Russian MFA spokesperson Maria Zakharova’s responsibilities and identifies the strategies she embraces when communicating with targeted audiences. The article concludes that the role of a spokesperson in Russian public diplomacy is increasingly prominent and has moved far beyond a mouthpiece.