Russia is investing enormous resources in soft power and specifically in what Americans call public diplomacy in the Middle East and worldwide. But is it working? The results in Yemen, and earlier in Syria, suggest otherwise.
Senior Russian officials from President Vladimir Putin downward regularly call for peaceful resolution in the Middle East and condemn violence. Indeed, Russia’s Foreign Ministry did so again just four days before the mid-May cease-fire in Yemen. Earlier, Russia’s capable ambassador to the United Nations, Vitaly Churkin, criticized the United States and Western governments for failing to support a UN Security Council resolution calling for the “humanitarian pause.” Churkin later warned that sending foreign ground troops into Yemen “may lead to a very serious humanitarian disaster.”