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(Un)successful years: EU countries’ cultural diplomacy with Russian Federation

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This paper offers an insight into the early stage of the author’s research about Years and Seasons of Culture, which are performed by governments and seen as tools of their cultural diplomacy. In the study, Years and Seasons are called “holidays of cultural diplomacy” in line with Dayan and Katz concept of media events. The main goal of research, which began due to an observation of the efforts of European countries to implement cultural diplomacy with the Russian Federation, is not only a conceptualisation of Years and Seasons but also a search for the rationale for organising them. In the paper, the author peruses a framework to analyse Years and Seasons of Culture and verifies the hypotheses therein, while presenting the pilot research’s results about the Dutch–Russian Bilateral Year in 2013. Thus, the paper presents the effects of the first stage of the project, focused on the Dutch–Russian Bilateral Year 2013.

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  1. Hence, the author follows Taylor’s taxonomy, who understood cultural diplomacy, besides international broadcasting, as elements of public diplomacy, and saw the latter as framed by strategic communication (2011).

  2. This paper is a part of a wider project, financed by Poland’s National Science Centre, Grant No. 2016/23/B/HS5/00486. The project covers the cases of Years, organised by Austria, Germany, Great Britain, the Netherlands and Poland with Russia in 2012–2016.

  3. Thus, “nlrf2013”, “Nederland-Ruslandjaar 2013” and “vriendschapsjaar” (year of friendship) became the categories, used in content analysis. The first worked mainly on Twitter and Facebook, the latter two for the analysis of press and television online.

  4. Thorbecke, the Chairman of the Dutch Constitutional Committee, coined this rule in 1848 (Ministry of Education 2013). Named after him, it has belonged to the main principles of the Dutch democratic regime till today.

  5. In the study, the author analyses not less than three media outlets available online, possibly representing diverse political stances. The sample included 187 articles from the NCR Handelsblad, 21 from De Telegraaf and 88 from De Volkskrant.

  6. The numbers of tweets analysed in the study were as follows: #NLRF2013 generated 321 tweets, whereas “vriendschapsjaar” 59 (second sample). Only few of them reached more than 10 likes, and only two (the second sample) were retweeted by more than 200 users.


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Correspondence to Beata Ociepka.

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Ociepka, B. (Un)successful years: EU countries’ cultural diplomacy with Russian Federation. Place Brand Public Dipl 15, 50–59 (2019).

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