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Russian soft power

Russian soft power
What is it? Soft power is a form of political power that implies the ability to achieve desired results
based on voluntary participation, sympathy and attractiveness. The term “soft power” was first coined
by Harvard University professor Joseph Nye in 1990. Various phenomena and processes lead to an
increase in soft power: from speeches and actions of influential politicians to the popularity of songs
(for example, the president of the Tokyo Foundation, Masahiro Akiyama, said that the attractiveness of
Japanese culture, exotic cuisine, and not least, products aimed primarily at young people - anime and
manga). At the moment, this concept is actively developing and is becoming more and more in
demand in international politics.
The Foreign Policy Concept of the Russian Federation,
approved by the President of the Russian Federation on
November 30, 2016, characterizes “soft power” as a tool
for solving foreign policy problems. It is noted that it is
based on the capabilities of civil society, information and
communication, humanitarian and other methods and
technologies that complement traditional diplomatic
Based on the "soft power index" 2021 by Brand Finance the index assesses the
prominence and recognition of a nation, its influence, reputation and key elements of
"strength". There are seven such elements in total - order, business and trade, people
and values, education and science, international relations, culture and heritage, as well
as media and communications. Russia ranks 13th (down from 10th place due to
difficulties in combating the pandemic and deteriorating relations with Western
countries). Russia is also among the leaders in terms of "familiarity, reputation,
influence "and is among the leaders in the element of education and science. However,
the research data is rather subjective. How and in what way does Russia dispose of
The main resources of the "soft power" of the Russian Federation:
• The Russian language remains one of the most widely spoken in the world. Experts determine the
number of people who speak Russian in different ways. According to Rossotrudnichestvo estimates,
at least 270 million people speak it in the world, and according to optimistic estimates - up to 300
million. Moreover, for the first time in history, the number of Russian speakers outside Russia
exceeded the number of citizens of this state. Another curious and optimistic trend is that Russian has
become the second most popular language on the Internet: it is used by 6% of all sites. It is
noteworthy that respondents from generation Z (people who were born from 1997 to 2012) and
millennials (born from 1981 to 1996) tend to rate Russia's reputation higher than the older generation.
For example, Germans and French (representatives of Generation Z) positively assess the reputation
of Russia, which is a common picture for many Western countries.
• Cultural and historical heritage, which includes traditional elements (painting, ballet, literature,
cinema, etc.), as well as modern culture (music, memes)
• Higher education. In 2018, ~ 280 thousand citizens of other states studied in Russia (about 7% of all
students). At the end of 2021, Rossotrudnichestvo is launching a service that will allow foreign citizens to
submit documents to Russian universities using a simplified scheme.
• Personality of the President. In 2020, according to a study by the Association of Independent Research
Agencies Gallup International, Vladimir Putin was named the second most recognizable politician in the
world, after
then US President Donald Trump. However, the President of the Russian Federation turned out to be more
approving among the respondents than the President of the United States (50 thousand people in 51
countries of the world).
• Business contacts (implementation of international projects, activities of Russian transnational
• Integration activities
The main instruments for the implementation of "soft power" in the Russian Federation are:
• The Russkiy Mir Foundation is a Russian public organization dedicated to the popularization of
the Russian language and culture, as well as support of programs for the study of the Russian
language in various countries of the world.
• Rossotrudnichestvo - carries out the functions of providing state services and managing state
property in the field of ensuring and developing international relations of the Russian
Federation with the member states of the Commonwealth of Independent States, other foreign
states, as well as in the field of international humanitarian cooperation. The activities of
Rossotrudnichestvo and its foreign missions are aimed at implementing the state policy of
international humanitarian cooperation, promoting the dissemination of an objective
understanding of modern Russia abroad. At present, Rossotrudnichestvo is represented in 81
countries by 98 representative offices: 74 Russian centers of science and culture in 62
countries, 24 representatives of the Agency as part of embassies in 22 countries.
• The Russian Center for Science and Culture (RCSC) implements joint scientific research, the exchange of
technical experience and culture of cultural heritage. The RCSC holds various exhibitions and concerts
aimed at drawing attention to contemporary Russian science and art.
Russia Today - Russian international multilingual network of information TV channels, funded by the
Russian government. Consists of four round-the-clock information TV channels broadcasting in more
than 100 countries of the world in English, Arabic, Spanish
In modern society with its current level of information exchange, specialists no longer see it as possible to use
only one line of influence, for example, military, which is why the development of the concept of “smart / soft
power” strategies and other things will only intensify. In conclusion, I would like to note that we should not
forget that the spread of Russian culture in the world can proceed quite successfully due to the enormous
historical heritage of our country, but it is by no means possible to dwell on this, because such a strategy,
without introducing something something new will inevitably lead to stagnation and extinction
Thank you for your attention!