Belarus ahead of USA and Russia in Nation Brand Perception Index
The Nation Brand Perception Index is regularly calculated by the US Research Institute East West Communication. “Mentions in the press of Belarus are rather balanced, with no definite negative trends visible,” believes Mr. Savinykh. He explains that, in shaping the image of Belarus, it’s vital to take into account that ideas within the country may drastically differ from those abroad. “There are over 200 states and territories in the world and 95 percent of their populations are primarily concerned about the situation in their own countries,” underlines the Press Secretary. Naturally, greater attention is always drawn to the negative, rather than the positive.
Mr. Savinykh believes that it’s natural for perceptions of a country domestically and abroad to differ. For example, in South Korea, there was a report of a local resident being denied entry to a restaurant when wearing national clothing; some believed this could negatively affect the image of South Korea, but this hasn’t happened.
According to the Press Secretary, the world has entered a century of public diplomacy, in which any organisation (particularly public associations) can realise its potential. “We can seriously influence information presented to foreign audiences and, to a lesser degree, can influence the opinion of ordinary citizens in their interaction with foreigners,” explains Mr. Savinykh.
Belarus can improve the level of service for foreigners, which should eventually enhance its image. However, the activities of other states cannot be influenced. “The process which began after the collapse of the Soviet Union is ongoing and can’t but influence the geopolitical situation,” stresses the Foreign Ministry’s representative.