Russia’s Niche Soft Power: Sources, Targets and Channels of Influence Russie.Nei.Visions, No. 122, Ifri, April 2021
This paper argues that Russia’s soft power should be understood as a niche soft power, microtargeting some specific audiences based on four particularisms:
- Russia’s history and culture;
- its Soviet legacy;
- its conservative and illiberal political identity today;
- its status as a joker on the international scene.
This strategy emerged as the product of Russia’s awareness of its limited outreach capacity compared to the US soft power, both financially and in terms of cultural and brand production to export worldwide. Russia’s case allows us to study the scope for a non-universalistic soft power on the international scene, and Moscow’s successes and failures at promoting conservative values as well as rebellion against the so-called liberal world order.
Marlène Laruelle is a Research Professor at George Washington University (Washington DC), Director of the Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies (IERES), director of the Illiberalism Studies Program, and co-director of PONARS-Eurasia. Since January 2019, she has been an associate research fellow at Ifri’s Russia/NIS Center.