People-to-people Diplomacy - Golden key to Enhance Viet Nam-Russia Friendship

Given the complex developments in the region and the world, preserving and promoting the Viet Nam-Russia Comprehensive Strategic Partnership is not only implemented through high-level political channels and State diplomacy but also through people-to-people channels.

People-to-people diplomacy is one of the three pillars of Vietnamese diplomacy. The people of the two countries are the steadfast factor of the long-standing, strong friendship and special relationship between Viet Nam and Russia.

In a recent interview with Sputnik, Phan Anh Son, President of the Viet Nam Union of Friendship Organizations (VUFO), shared his views and experiences on people-to-people diplomacy in promoting the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership between Viet Nam and the Russian Federation.

People-to-people Diplomacy - Golden key to Enhance Vietnam-Russia FriendshipPhan Anh Son, President of the Viet Nam Union of Friendship Organizations (VUFO). 

"Bamboo" diplomacy: Steadfast and Flexible

First, Phan Anh Son clarified Vietnamese Bamboo Diplomacy conveyed in two main characteristics: Steadfastness in goals and principles and Flexibility in strategies, approaches, and implementation of activities.

In which, the biggest goal remains national independence associated with socialism, originating from Ho Chi Minh's diplomatic ideology. The Bamboo Diplomacy was born with the steadfast spirit of fighting for national independence and liberation associated with international solidarity, peace, friendship, multilateralization, and diversification in international relations.

According to Phan Anh Son, Bamboo Diplomacy is well conveyed in all three pillars of Viet Nam's foreign affairs: Party diplomacy, State diplomacy and people-to-people diplomacy. However, people-to-people diplomacy must also show greater flexibility, especially in a constantly changing international context with many complex and unpredictable factors.

"We try to find similarities with partners, which is the love for peace, fighting for peace, love for justice and righteousness. More importantly, we appreciate the sentiment from international friends and progressive people of the world who have helped Viet Nam in its cause of fighting for national independence and unification," said Son.

Vietnam's friendship orders are awarded to two vice presidents of the Russia-Vietnam Friendship Association, Regina Bundarina and Vladimir Ruvimov at a ceremony in Moscow on May 23. (Photo: VNA)

Viet Nam's friendship orders are awarded to two vice presidents of the Russia-Viet Nam Friendship Association, Regina Bundarina and Vladimir Ruvimov at a ceremony in Moscow on May 23. (Photo: VNA)

People-to-people diplomacy in promoting Viet Nam - Russia relations

When looking at the unique features of people-to-people diplomacy in promoting Viet Nam-Russia relations, Phan Anh Son mentioned three main factors: subject, object, and approach.

Regarding subject, if the Party's foreign affairs are undertaken by the Commission for External Relations under the Communist Party of Viet Nam's Central Committee; State diplomacy is chaired by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the National Assembly's Committee on Foreign Affairs; people-to-people diplomacy has the broad participation of the Viet Nam Fatherland Front, socio-political organizations, people's organizations, and the Vietnamese people. The specialized agency that plays the core role in this sector is the Viet Nam Union of Friendship Organizations (VUFO).

Regarding object, Son said VUFO not only maintains relationships with corresponding organizations in other countries, but also contacts universities, research institutes, policy consulting organizations, foundations, companies, and foreign non-governmental organizations operating in Viet Nam, even foreign politicians and intellectuals.

"With the Russian Federation, we have many partners such as the Russian Association for International Cooperation (RAMS), the Path to Peace Foundation, the Committee for External Relations of Saint-Petersburt, Rossotrudnichestvo, universities, research institutes, local authorities, and businesses. This is a large network of partners in addition to traditional partners such as the Russia-Viet Nam Friendship Association," said Son.

Regarding approach, Phan Anh Son emphasized that flexibility is a characteristic of people-to-people diplomacy to meet the complex developments of the regional and global situation. At the same time, the choice of different approaches also depends on each specific object. However, the common point is to find consensus values ​​such as the love for peace, justice, and righteousness and the will to fight for those values.

Historical mark and special solidarity

When assessing the diversity and depth of people-to-people diplomacy activities in promoting Viet Nam-Russia relations, Phan Anh Son affirmed that this is a special relationship that has gone through the challenges of time and has been preserved and nurtured by generations of leaders and people of the two countries.

The leader of VUFO emphasized that important milestones in the history of relations have laid a solid foundation for the nowadays people-to-people diplomacy between Viet Nam and Russia.

"In 1950, Viet Nam and the Soviet Union officially established diplomatic relations. In 1994, Viet Nam and the Russian Federation signed the “Treaty on the basic principles of friendly relations between the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam and the Russian Federation”. This year marks the 30th anniversary of that important event. On June 30, 2023, St. Petersburg, a city in Russia, also inaugurated a monument of President Ho Chi Minh at the central square to commemorate the 100th anniversary of President Ho Chi Minh's first visit to Petrograd (present-day St. Petersburg)," Son recalled.

The leader of VUFO said political and diplomatic activities of high-ranking Vietnamese delegations to the Russian Federation always include meetings with the Russian Federation's people organizations and the Vietnamese community there.

Son expressed hope that similar events will continue to take place in the near future, such as during the upcoming visit to Viet Nam by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The nearly-75-year journey of diplomatic relations has affirmed the close connection between the two peoples. Son emphasized:

"In Viet Nam, many people love the then Soviet Union and now Russia. That is the roof of the time-tested relationship, tenaciously nurtured by many generations of leaders and people of the two countries."

VUFO President also mentioned a new development of cooperation, which is the Viet Nam-Russia Friendship Association's recently signed cooperation agreement for 2024-2029 with the Russian State Pedagogical University (A.I. Herzen) on promoting people-to-people exchange cooperation, popularizing and promoting Russian culture and language in Viet Nam and Vietnamese language and culture in Russia.

In the near future, VUFO will also establish cooperative relationships with other famous Russian universities such as St. Petersburg University (SPbSU), Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO), and Moscow State University named after M. V. Lomonosov (MGU).

People-to-people Diplomacy - Golden key to Enhance Vietnam-Russia Friendship

VUFO coordinated with the Embassy of the Russian Federation to Viet Nam to organize information sharing on the situation in Russia and cooperation between the two countries. Photo: VUFO

Vision towards the future

Regarding people-to-people diplomacy activities between the two countries, Phan Anh Son assessed that this is a dynamic, rich, and deeply emotional process. He listed activities such as organizing political and diplomatic events to commemorate important events in Viet Nam - Russia relations and traditional festivals of the two countries; meetings between senior leaders and the Vietnamese community in the Russian Federation; and serving as a bridge to promote twinning between localities of the two countries.

"Activities on the people's channel between the two countries have profound significance in the context of an unstable world, contributing to strengthening trust between the two peoples and promoting political trust between the two countries. This is extremely important," Son emphasized.

Phan Anh Son expressed his belief in the bright prospects of Viet Nam - Russia relations on the people's channel given that the two countries are aiming to celebrate the 75th anniversary of establishing diplomatic relations in 2025.

“VUFO is discussing with Russian partners to organize the first Viet Nam - Russia People's Forum in 2025 to commemorate the 75th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Viet Nam and the then Soviet Union, today Russia (January 30, 1950 - January 30, 2025). After that, the forum will be held annually in Viet Nam or Russia," Son said.

This event promises to become an opportunity for the two sides to promote exchanges to consolidate friendship, and tighten traditional friendship and cooperation between the two peoples. At the same time, it looks to bring about new steps in cooperation in many fields.

The mentioned efforts in promoting people-to-people cooperation have been and will contribute to further deepening the Viet Nam - Russia Comprehensive Strategic Partnership.

Source: Vietnamtimes