Russian Media: President Obama decided to use a "weapon" of public diplomacy

An event today at the Russian News & Information Agency (1706 18th Street, NW, Washington, DC) may be of interest:     

What President Obama signifies to Russia?

U.S.-Russian relations have now reached their lowest point since the breakup of the Soviet Union. Most recently U.S.-Russian relations have been strained over U.S. plans to build a missile shield in Eastern Europe and over Russia's brief war with Georgia, a close U.S. ally.
 
During the last phone call on January 26 Barack Obama and Dmitri Medvedev agreed that, "as they were both new leaders from a post-Cold War generation they have a unique opportunity to establish a fundamentally different kind of relationship between the two countries".
 
How the personality of Barack Obama can influence US-Russian relations?
 
President Obama decided to use a "weapon" of public diplomacy by giving the first television network interview to al-Arabiya. The new president's actions and words constitute an unusually high-profile and personalized "public diplomacy" campaign to correct what he perceives as a serious strategic problem for the United States. Is he going to use this public diplomacy approach in the case of Russia?

Is Russia keen to improve relationship with the US and involve broader contacts in communication process?

Details, including American and Russian panelists, are below the fold.

Videoconference Moscow - Washington, DC
Thursday, February 12, 2009
 
9:00 - 10:30 a.m.
Speakers
From Washington, DC
 
Harley Balzer
Associate Professor, Government and International Affairs
Georgetown University
 
Gregory Guroff
Expert on the
Soviet Union in the US Information Agency (USIA).
Former coordinator of the President's US-Soviet Exchange Initiative
 
Sherwood H. Demitz
Former strategic planner for the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), Soviet Affairs desk officer for USIA
 
 
Donald N. Jensen
Resident
Fellow, Center for Transatlantic Relations, Paul Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University
 
 
From Moscow
 
Irina Yasina
Director, Regional Journalism Club, Economist

Valery Fedorov
General Director, Russian Public Opinion Research Center (WCIOM)
 
Kirill Tanayev
Chairman of the Board, Effective Politics Foundation (FEP)
 
Valery Levchenko
Deputy Director General, Russian News & Information Agency

8:30 - 9:00 a.m.  Registration and breakfast Reception.
9:00 -10:30 a.m. Discussion
 
Moderator                             
Nargiz Asadova
Deputy Washington, D.C. Bureau Chief
                                               
Russian News & Information Agency
RSVP: Novosti.DC@gmail.com; Svetlana.babaeva@gmail.com
www.en.rian.ru

Location: RIA Novosti,
1706 18 Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20009