Group №2:”Oratory Skills”

Hi, Stanford!

We are Anna, Dina, Ksusha, Natasha and Vova.

We greet you from Khabarovsk State Academy of Economics and Law. We are happy to have an opportunity to collaborate with you. Let us tell about ourselves. Our major is International Marketing. Marketing is a new field of business area in Russia and we view it as focused on innovative ideas flowing into the business area. Information and communication exchange through the blogs, and videoconferencing, for us, is also an innovative approach to education and learning of cultural world diversity. We find it a very enriching process.

We are group №2, our topic is Oratory Skills. We have read the article “On the Necessity of Cliché and Barack Obama’s Rhetoric”, and we would like to discuss the issue using cliché and generalizations in presidents’ speeches, as well as presidents’ intercultural competence, revealed in oratory.

Generalization isn’t something that we should use when we describe cultural attitudes, for example, but it may be useful to generalize, when presidents appeal to the entire nation, as one whole. To illustrate this, Obama is known in Russia by his repetitive use of such phrases, as You Can, and Change. We think that it’s a strong rhetoric device he uses to make the nation feels as capable of change, and moving ahead. Whereas, Medvedev very often appeals to a target audience using the words “must” and “we have to be tolerant”, on the one hand trying to evoke decisiveness and social activeness and on the other hand emphasizing the importance of being tolerate in modern Russia. Also the expression “the freedom is better than unfreedom” became one of frequently used his phrases. Would be interesting to hear your opinion on this issue.

The next aspect we would like to comment is intercultural competence of Presidents. We agree that intercultural competence is very important to Presidents, Russian and American. President should “bring his message down to the lowest common denominator”, make his message understandable for everyone. Russia is also a polyethnic country. Medvedev often appeals to a diversity of religions and sub cultures inside Russia. It appears intensively during official visits to the Far East and Yakutia. Also Medvedev pays attention to the current situation in Northern Caucasus as the most unstable region in Russia.

We would appreciate your ideas regarding intercultural competence of Presidents.

Speaking of general public attitude towards presidents, we think Russians view Obama as an energetic person who evokes trust, but there is some criticism and suspiciousness to him too because of excessive usage of metaphors in his speeches, like “audacity of hope” or “the fierce urgency of now”, that phrases are difficult to understand even for native speakers, not to mention foreigners.

We would also refer to Medvedev’s oratory as changing throughout the years. During his reign, Dmitry Medvedev has changed considerably – for example, became assertive in the words, judgments and actions. Over the past two years, Medvedev has changed rhetoric. In his interviews, he demonstrates more confidence, courage and willingness when he addresses various issues. His manner of speech became more determined than it was when he served as first deputy prime minister. For example in 2008 when Medvedev had just become a president he was too loyal, tolerant and excessively diplomatic. And even sometimes in people minds Putin, being a Prime-minister, dominated the President Medvedev. People thought that he just fulfilled Putin’s will. But we have recently witnessed a few controversies between Putin and Medvedev, who allowed himself criticizing Putin. It shows that he has become more determined and independent. []

Besides, Medvedev often speaks using “a piece of paper.” Many observers have noted that in the manner of his speeches there are a lot of “Putin’s” notes. This is a logical explanation: they may still have the same speechwriters. It can be confirmed by such example as his speech in Davos. He looked down from time to time and turned over the pages of something that lied on rostrum. And there are a lot of examples like this.

It would be interesting to hear your perspective on Medvedev’s oratory skills. We know you study rhetoric in depth.

Looking forward to hearing from you soon

This entry was posted in CCR exchange: Stanford-Khabarovsk, Spring 2011: Intercultural Communication for Leadership. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Group №2:”Oratory Skills”

  1. Alex Chang says:

    Hi friends!

    My email address is if you want to keep in touch.


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