Rutland, P., & Kazantsev, A. (2016). The limits of Russia’s ‘soft power’. Journal of Political Power, 9(3), 395-413. doi:10.1080/2158379X.2016.1232287
Moscow came late to the soft power game, but made it an integral feature of the drive to restore Russia’s great power status. Russia has a proud cultural legacy and has invested heavily in trying to promote a positive image of the country abroad, for example through the Russia Today television channel. However, the leadership faced the challenge of dealing with the complex legacy of the Soviet past, and finding a viable development model for Russia: it is hard for a country facing economic stagnation to project a positive international image. Russia’s authoritarian turn since 2004, and its use of force in Georgia, Ukraine, and Syria, have reinforced negative stereotypes of Russia as a hard power. For these reasons Russian leaders have largely failed to develop soft power as an effective policy tool.