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Millennium Post

Taking Indo-Russian relations to the next level

The overt enthusiasm over the 6th BRICS summit due next year within administrative circles in India and its long time strategic partner Russia has little to do with optimism over the organisation’s role. On the contrary this euphoria is fostered by a strong network of social initiatives aimed to rein in the cultural commons to bring closer two countries that once enjoyed a mutual bond. The new age media and its online platform has become the driver of its bilateral interests for Russia which is fighting for dominance in the post millennium web world. ‘Voice of Russia’, Russia’s premier radio broadcaster along with ‘Russia and India Reports’, a website maintained by Rossiyskaya Gazeta, a government owned newspaper, are two such web outlets dedicated to covering news with a pro Indian Agenda.

While catering to Indian tastes, soft power is generally an effective solution considering whatever recollection Indians have of erstwhile Soviet Union are through Bollywood memorabilia and Nehruvian media promotion. Capitalising on this trend events such as Days of Moscow in Delhi and vice versa have been organised last year by the Russian Ministry of External affairs under the stature sister cities share with each other. The inauguration of the event also saw the signing of a cooperation agreement for both capitals for the duration of 2012-2015. Previously 2008 was celebrated as the ‘Year of Russia in India’ with film festivals being the main attraction apart from a visit from the then prime minister Dmitry Medvedev.

The new wave of collaboration has also branched off into the radio industry. A program called ‘From Russia with love’ is aired daily 1 to 2 am among others, on HT Media’s Fever 104 FM. Labeled ‘infotainment’ this Voice of Russia initiative airs Russian and Hindi film songs with breaks that include trivia and current fairs from the Russian mainland presented in an interactive format. It has to be said that while the Russian media seems committed to its cause for strategic relations have this aggressive endorsement can be interpreted as realpolitikal action. Also this bonding seems a highly one sided effort. To usher in a new golden-era and India too needs to fill in this gap and built upon Roerich’s heritage and give a fillip to this effort.
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