YIN SIMENG. Russian Digital Diplomacy Towards China in the Context of the Russian Special Military Operation in Ukraine: The Instance of the Official Weibo Account of the Embassy of the Russian Federation in China

DOI: https://doi.org/10.15688/jvolsu4.2023.3.7

Yin Simeng

Candidate of Science (Politics), Senior Lecturer,

Faculty of International Relations,

Researcher,

Institute of Northeast Asian Studies, Dalian University of Foreign Languages,

LüShun Nanlu St, 6, 116044 Dalian, China

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

https://orcid.org/0009-0006-4151-4501


Abstract. Introduction. Digital diplomacy based on cutting-edge information and communication technologies is playing an increasingly major role and is gradually becoming an important tool in boosting traditional public diplomacy by providing information and public opinion support for the implementation of the country’s foreign policy abroad. The Embassy of the Russian Federation in China has been actively engaged in digital diplomacy on the Chinese social media platform Sina Weibo, aiming to put an end to the “public opinion hegemony” of the Western media and counter fake news and negative propaganda from Ukraine and other countries about the Special Military Operation.

Methods and materials. This paper is built on a streak of official interviews with diplomats at the Embassy of the Russian Federation in Beijing. Drawing on content analysis of the microblogs published by the official account of the Embassy of the Russian Federation in China from January 1, 2022 to April 1, 2023, this article examines the digital diplomacy of the Russian official institutions regarding China against the background of the Russian Special Military Operation in Ukraine.

Analysis. Russia’s digital diplomacy towards China has been focusing strongly on the Special Military Operation. In the field of digital diplomacy with China, two main information sources have arisen that are represented by the Russian Embassy in China and two mainstream media outlets, Russia Today and Sputnik. They advocate steadfastly for Russia’s national interests and express its official stance. In terms of content and topics, the Russian Embassy’s Weibo diplomacy with China is overwhelmed by the political issues following the Special Military Operation, that emphasize the official position of Russia and explains the objectives of the Special Military Operation – to disarm and control the foreign forces used against the people of Donbas and to stop neo-Nazism and its ideology. In terms of communication methods, the Weibo operations team of the Embassy of the Russian Federation in China has demonstrated its professionalism and aptitude to market events while using such unique Weibo functions as the hashtagging events feature.

Results. The target audience’s attention to a hot issue is time-sensitive, i.e., about one month after the event, which is the “golden stage” for effective digital diplomacy. At the same time, the study illustrates that while carrying out digital diplomacy activities with China, the Russian Embassy in China still has shortcomings in its performance, i.e., in early 2023, the official position was over-highlighted and the content and form of communications were relatively homogeneous. The content of communication should be appropriately enriched in order to eventually build up a multi-faceted and multi-angle communication system.

Key words: Russian Special Military Operation in Ukraine, digital diplomacy, Embassy of the Russian Federation in China, Weibo, Russian Federation.

Citation. Yin Simeng. Russian Digital Diplomacy Towards China in the Context of the Russian Special Military Operation in Ukraine: The Instance of the Official Weibo Account of the Embassy of the Russian Federation in China. Vestnik Volgogradskogo gosudarstvennogo universiteta. Seriya 4. Istoriya. Regionovedenie. Mezhdunarodnye otnosheniya [Science Journal of Volgograd State University. History. Area Studies. International Relations], 2023, vol. 28, no. 3, pp. 76-84. DOI: https://doi.org/10.15688/jvolsu4.2023.3.7.

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Russian Digital Diplomacy Towards China in the Context of the Russian Special Military Operation in Ukraine: The Instance of the Official Weibo Account of the Embassy of the Russian Federation in China by Yin Simeng is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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