3.4.2 Public actors and cultural diplomacy
The Russian President determines foreign policies as the head of state and initiates international cultural actions assisted by the Directorate for Interregional and Cultural Relations with Foreign Countries within the Presidential Executive Office. The Federal Council provides for the legal background of international co-operation and for carrying out related agreements. Its members work in the Commissions for inter-parliamentary co-operation.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) elaborates general strategies, carries out diplomatic activities, providing a framework for development of international cultural co-operation, represents Russia in the international organisations (UNESCO, Council of Europe, etc), and coordinates external relations of other federal Ministries. The MFA and its institutions abroad take part in national cultural programmes, supports development of the Alliance of Civilisations established under the UN aegis, promotion of inter-religious dialogue, activities of the "Russky Mir" Foundation, etc.
In 2002, the Russian Centre for International Scientific and Cultural Co-operation was placed under the MFA. The Centre managed the institutional network in foreign countries, which offered general information and training courses in the Russian language, and promoted Russia's literature and culture abroad. Its representatives also supported links between Russian and foreign NGOs, supported the Russian-speaking communities abroad, offered Russian scholarships and organised education programmes in Russia for foreign students. etc. In 2008, the Centre was included in the newly established Federal Agency for CIS Affairs, Compatriots Living Abroad and International Humanitarian Cooperation (Rossotrudnichestvo) under the MFA; cultural interaction within the CIS is among the main concerns of the Agency. In 2012, the head of the Agency proposed to develop and reinforce the Agency managing the offices and Russian Science and Culture Centres abroad as an instrument of "soft power".
The Ministry of Culture negotiates and realises bilateral inter-ministerial agreements on cultural co-operation, discusses restitution issues, adopts plans of cultural collaboration, "exports" Russian culture and arts, manages international cultural events in Russia, organises cultural exchanges and supports Russian participation in international artistic competitions, festivals, forums, exhibitions, stages, etc. The Minister is a permanent member of conferences of culture Ministers within the Barents Euro-Arctic and Baltic Regions, and presides over the Council for Cultural Co-operation of the CIS Member States.
The Ministry for Regional Development collaborates with international organisations in such fields as development of ethnic cultures, languages, folk arts and identity preservation and supervises regional and cross-border cultural co-operation. In 2009–2010, the Ministry together with the Council of Europe called for applications within the Council of Europe / European Commission / Ministry for Regional Development joint Programme on "Ethnic Minorities in Russia – development of languages, cultures, mass media, and civil society". The Ministry also organises activities within the Second International Decade of the World's Indigenous People in the Russian Federation. Representatives of the Ministry take part in the Lithuania-Poland-Russia Cross-Border Cooperation Programme 2007-2013, which is conducted within the framework of the Lithuania-Poland-Kaliningrad Region of the Russian Federation Neighbourhood Programme.