Stereotypes influences on economic relations between the European Union countries and Russian Federation — страница 2

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seems to have been induced by the following three factors. First, by the stereotypes juxtaposing Russian and European values as incompatible. Second, by the Soviet syndrome. Third, by the mistakes made by the Russian leaders in the past decade (the use of force for resolving Russia's internal political crisis in October 1993; the warfare in Chechnya; implementation of controlled democracy) which impelled Europe to question Russia's adherence to democratic principles. The EU countries, as well as Western countries as a whole, however, were not impartial observers and they often showed neglectful and cynical attitude toward Russia's vested interests. On the one hand, they flouted the premise that Russian democracy could only succeed under the conditions of favorable external

environment instilled by them; on the other, they showed distrust to the future democratic transformations in Russia giving preference to stability rather than democracy in Russian society. The absence of any long-term concept of the relations between Russia and the European Union and the strategic objectives determining their current policies is viewed as the main obstacle preventing Russia and the European Union from working out the principles of effective policy with regard to one another. The last reasons are internal political development in Russia and fears of its Western partners concerning the direction in which it is moving. One of the most widely spread Western stereotypes is that there is an unfathomable, an almost genetic, gap between the Russian and EU values. It is

said that Russians have an inbred tendency for authoritarianism. Large-scale study on the image of Russian business abroad, carried out by the Center of Knowledge Management (CKM) of the Mikhailov and Partners Company bears witness to the highly skeptical relationship of the West towards all that is happening in Russia.  Undoubtedly, there is an objective premise for this.  But at the same time, the negative perceptions of many processes and occurrences in Russian business are based upon antiquated stereotypes, the tendencies of mass media and unavoidable projections of the image of the country in the reputation of its corporate citizens.  The fundamental factor currently determining the perceptions of Russian business abroad is Russia's image, which unfortunately

still has a negative influence  In contrast to prominent foreign transnational companies, Russian business is still not able to distance itself from its country's image because it does not have an image of its own.  It is perceived in the West through the prism of many unfavorable stereotypes, some arising from the time of the “cold war” (the KGB, the enemy of Western Democracy, totalitarianism), some from the time of reform (criminals, corruption, the politicization of business, imperial ambitions), and others during the presidency of Boris Yeltsin and Vladimir Putin. A poll taken in 2003 at the request of the Putin government highlighted the depths of the problem.  Europeans were asked to name 10 things they associate with Russia.  Most of the audience

named communism, the KGB, snow and the mafia.  A single positive association - Russian art and culture - appeared last in the list. The majority of those who took part in the recent survey, who are journalists for both Russian and foreign publications, named corruption, the influence of state power in all socio-intellectual spheres, the ineffectiveness of the legal system, totalitarian tendencies and tight control of information as key components in the image of modern Russia. The "YUKOS affair", the scandal surrounding the law on NGOs and the gas conflict between Russia and Ukraine have all had a negative impact on the image of Russia, with state influence and totalitarian tendencies playing some part in these events. There is however, a small audience that views

Russia and its business differently. These are Western businessmen working on the Russian market or directors of projects with Western companies. They see the high lucrative ness of investing in Russian economics and the serious economic possibilities of Russian partners.  However, this audience is limited to representatives of prominent businesses connected to the fuel-energy and metallurgic industries and the finance sector.  They are well informed in their spheres and do not add greatly to the public image of Russian companies in their own countries. Besides the stereotypes of Russia and the country's image, the negative view of Russian business in the West also stems from a lack of information about companies, their public strategies and perspectives and, in