In international dynamics and common practice, studying bilateral relations between two countries, isolated from the rest of the context. Chosen not by chance but according to the network of their bonds. Once upon a time only mutual diplomatic relations were observed. Over time, the horizon has broadened also looking at their cultural and commercial exchanges, tourism, sports competitions and so on.
It is these less institutional aspects that help to describe the Italian-Russian relations and the anthropological data of the extreme popularity in Russia of everything attributable to the Italian lifestyle.
It is an uncritical, unchallenged and unique attraction (no other country enjoys such widespread popular appeal) evident to anyone dealing with Russian affairs.
This phenomenon (already present in the USSR but exploded in the post-Soviet period) has multiple conjugations (social, cultural, economic) even more surprising because it is the effect of a movement entirely internal to Russia, disconnected from Italian promotion strategies.
Italy was discovered ex post and with a certain amount of surprise in the heart of the Russians. So much so that it is conceivable that the success of Italian soft-power compared to that of other more osmotic countries to Russia (above all Germany) lies in its de-politicized nature.
Made in Italy arrives in no particular order through a multiplicity of parceled channels; without requiring an all-inclusive acceptance of Western “values”. The Russian affective attraction towards the beautiful country (asymmetrical because Italy does not go beyond avoiding the rampant Russophobia in other European countries), manifests itself in the most disparate contexts.
Sometimes, however, creating misunderstandings, since it is expressed with messages with a strong Russian matrix aimed at a domestic audience, born without consulting the Italian counterpart. Such as on the occasion of the expedition of Kremlin soldiers sent to help Italy in the Covid emergency in March 2020.
Baptized “From Russia with love” – ​​rather unusual terminology in military language (more inclined to speak of friendship, alliance, etc.), the mission in our local imagination was associated, precisely because of the name chosen, with the espionage activities of the film epic of James Bond .
According to a communication expert such as Luca Josi (creator of iconic Tim advertising campaigns) another example of a diverted message was Ciao 2021, the second chapter of a satirical-musical parody dedicated to Italy in the 80s, produced for New Year’s Eve by the first channel of the Russian state TV.
Indeed, it is a much less convincing sequel than its predecessor a year ago, which immediately established itself as an absolute cult; true fetish for the growing community of Italians residing in Russia.
Both the 2020 and 2021 editions exceed one hour in duration, technically sophisticated and studied in detail, evidently the result of considerable efforts and production costs; with the main Russian pop artists singing and acting in Italian in a television container that mimics a Sanremo from the era of Pippo Baudo and a Drive-In from the early days of Ezio Greggio .
While the first version had provoked enthusiastic judgments outside and inside Russia, this year the second episode left many perplexities in the Italian audience, due to the texts prepared by the authors coordinated by Ivan Urgant – Russian showman similar in versatility to our Fiorello.
At the end of a particularly tragic pandemic year for Italians, Ciao 2020 had successfully recreated the light-hearted and light-hearted atmosphere of the rich and carefree Italy of the 1980s and Reaganian hedonism (a term coined by Roberto D’Agostino in the historic Quelli of the Night by Renzo Arbore ).
He succeeded in bypassing all the main negative Italian stereotypes that abound abroad and that have made generations of homegrown migrants suffer in the various countries where they are expatriates.
Combined with the surprise effect and originality (no one had foreseen the arrival or the format), Ciao 2020 had been a perfect Nostalgia Operation, which had aroused emotions in Italy and promoted the image of a smiling and communicative Russia ( similar to that of the Sochi Olympics or the 2018 World Cup). Detached from the Soviet past and capable of making an “American” television.
Ciao 2021, on the other hand, was specular and opposite in its contents, playing heavily on all the typical anti-Italian cliches, however, demonstrating not knowing how to handle them with care and to ignore – for example – that for a foreigner joking about the Mafia with Italians is equivalent to making fun of them. on Nazism with the Germans. It can be done, but it requires caution and precautions completely ignored here, it seems not so much for a precise design as for the superficiality of the authors, surprising in the light of last year’s excellent product.
And the same superficiality that led recklessly to broadcast a tasteless Deep Fake by Vladimir Putinin the version of the President of the Italian Republic, complete with the Colosseum and the Italian flag behind it. In addition to confirming that the first public channel (not only Russian) is not the best place to do true political satire, one wonders if the authors knew that only three weeks after the airing of the clip, Italy is grappling with one of the most complex elections of the new Head of State, successor of Sergio Matterella . And that the sense of the gag is so obscure that it leaves room for too many interpretations.
Ultimately, this year’s program reinforces a stereotype about Italy which, albeit less than in other countries, also circulates in Russia and which wants the beautiful country to be a place of art and culture; but also of crime, chaos and lack of civic sense in the face of personal gain.
Where the return together of Al Bano and Romina Power is only a matter of a fee that a nostalgic oligarch of “Felicita” is willing to pay.
Perhaps, after the brilliant Ciao 2020, rather than replicating a cheesy sequel with leftovers from last year’s material, it was better if the Urgant Team focused on doing an Aufwiedersehen 2021 in honor of Germany.
Or, given the heavy ironies that Washington or London have reserved for Moscow for decades, a nice Goodbye 2021.

Previous articleLow platelets: causes, symptoms, values, treatments
Next articleZelensky: worse in Borodyanka than in Bucha