MOSCOW (Realist English). Soft power has a completely exhaustive set of tools in its qualitative composition: pop culture, style, drama, heroes and images, symbols of everyday and household comfort.
Images, visual means and dramaturgy of the modern Russian life are the path of overcoming that our protagonist goes through, achieving goals and fulfilling dreams, should charm into falling in love.
The ability to charm into falling in love, to attract into your program of the future, to intrigue, to arouse the desire to join this historical project of insanely talented and deeply likeable people — these are the ideal qualities of any creative, intellectual and everyday product that comes out with these funny Russian letters on the label (which should be called by the Russian word “yarlyk” and not “label”).
The music. The design and architecture. The image of a Russian person with his special smile and the ability to give unique experiences from personal interaction. And this is cinema, theater, visual content for Internet sites.
Whatever one may say, but “Delicious. Period”* is a generic. A completely understandable fact, given the time frame in which decisions were made to preserve a huge fast-food chain.
We need our own non— generic products.
And here it will be oh so difficult. We will have to work systematically to have our own load-bearing structures similar to “Scandinavian architecture” or “britpop”.
First, it will be necessary to do a thorough revision of the dust-covered set of Soviet and quasi-Russian symbols. Balalaika, matryoshka, the “Birch” ensemble are the fruits of the twentieth century, bearely organic, hastily created so that the RSFSR also had something ethnic, like the same Soviet Ukraine or the Transcaucasian republics of the USSR. After the mass relocation of the rural population to the cities, the change of lifestyle — somewhere violent, somewhere objective-historical — and the Russian Afonya forgot his fields and the way of his ancestors.
A big mistake would be excessive cultivation of the Soviet era. The aesthetics of Soviet life should play in the palette of the new Russian universe about the same role that the images of Birmingham of the 1920s from the Peaky Blinders series play in the modern British culture. Vintage. Stylish decor. Well, by the way, sold. [There is no need to be shy about saleability. Need to reach out to it.]
But we should not seek to return ourselves to the days of the first model of “Zhiguli” (or Lada cars), good Soviet films, as well as to the era of dinosaurs, we also have no need to move down the escalator of time.
In the Russian aesthetics of the 20s of the XXI century, there is an acute shortage of fascinating contours of the future. And their contours must be cultivated and cherished. To nurture. To take care of any more or less even sprout of a new meaning.
We have an acute shortage of modern composers, designers, playwrights, writers. We need to stimulate creativity in schools by creating centers for contemporary music, visual art, and writing. That’s where Olympiads are needed to identify nuggets.
We need an original cultural boom, organic and enviable for near and far neighbors. Without this, we will not be able to achieve and retain positive attention to ourselves. Not only from the outside, but also in our own sense of strategic dignity, so to speak.
In this sense, it’s great that Alla Pugacheva is no longer with us. One can relate to her in different ways, but it is a burden, the sirloin of the aesthetic past, which would have to be picked off like an excrescence. And here everything somehow happened all by itself…
Denis Dvornikov is a publicist, speechwriter
* A Russian chain (Vkusno I tochka) of fast food restaurants opened in the premises of the McDonald’s chain after its closure in Russia and the complete sale of the entire Russian business to entrepreneur Alexander Govor.