To the Kremlin and Back Again

What Western Commentators Don’t Get about “Russian Soft Power”

24 February 2020

Aliaksei Kazharski

Visegrad Insight Fellow

Journalists and think-tankers adopt the Kremlin’s take on the term, speaking of “Russian soft power” when they really mean manipulation practices and disinformation. This corruption of a valuable IR concept has serious ramifications for the freedom of speech.

The Kremlin’s disinformation activities produced an unfortunate mutation of the term “soft power”, not only in Russia itself but also in the West. Like many other Western concepts, “soft power” was appropriated by Russians – and misunderstood in the process.

Nye’s original definition referred to the non-military power of attraction that stemmed from a country’s culture and political values. In Russia “soft power” was reinterpreted in much more sinister shades, as an information war weapon, meant to destabilise societies and bring down governments.

Following the Ukraine crisis of 2014, the Western policy community has paid increased attention to the Kremlin’s subversive operations, and “propaganda and “hybrid war” became buzzwords.

Subscribe

Democratic security comes at a price. What is yours? By subscribing or donating now gain access to analysis, forecasts and scenarios by leading analysts and reporters who monitor democratic risks and develop policy debate from Central Europe on Central Europe.

IndividualVAT included

€4/month €40/year

See all details

  • Access to all articles
  • Download all reports
  • Monthly foresights and risk analysis delivered by e-mail
  • Free invitation to one editorial board discussion to participate in deciding on the future direction of the Visegrad Insight (annual subscription only)
  • Weekly newsletter with most important highlights
  • Free delivery of two select hardcopies of Visegrad Insight reports (annual subscription only)
  • Free Visegrad Insight Podcast access
  • Visegrad Insight social media community groups invitation

CorporateVAT included

€99/month €999/year

See all details

  • Access to all articles for all team members (up to 10 users)
  • Download all reports
  • Monthly foresights and risk analysis delivered by e-mail
  • Once a year an on-demand tailored policy brief report (annual subscription only)
  • Personal invitations to Visegrad Insight Breakfasts with an exclusive group of diplomats, decision-makers, think-tankers and foreign correspondents in the region
  • Free invitation to one editorial board discussion to participate in deciding on the future direction of the Visegrad Insight (annual subscription only)
  • Weekly newsletter with most important highlights PLUS a first-month mention in the newsletter (annual subscription only)
  • Free delivery of up to 20 select hardcopies of Visegrad Insight reports
  • Free Visegrad Insight Podcast access PLUS a mention in four episodes (annual subscription only)
  • Visegrad Insight social media community groups invitations to all corporate users (annual subscription only)

Optional donation

Choose your contribution

See all details

  • Access to all articles
  • Download all reports
  • For every donation above 10 euros monthly foresights and risk analysis delivered by e-mail
  • One on demand tailored policy brief report for every donation above 600 euros
  • Invitations to select special events organised by Visegrad Insight for every donation above 99 euros
  • Free invitation to one editorial board discussion to participate in deciding on the future direction of the Visegrad Insight (annual subscription only with a minimum value of 1 euro per month)
  • Weekly newsletter with the most important highlights PLUS a mention in the newsletter for every donation above 25 euros
  • Delivery of a select report for a donation above 30 euros
  • Free Visegrad Insight Podcast access PLUS a podcast mention for every donation above 25 euros
  • Visegrad Insight social media community groups invitation

Can I receive an invoice?

Yes. You will receive a receipt immediately after purchase and a VAT invoice upon request. The subscription amount includes tax. In case of a donation, there is no tax.

Are my credit card details safe?

Yes. The payment is processed by STRIPE www.stripe.com entrusted also by Amazon, Zoom, Booking.com and used by other global NGOs and businesses in the world. We do not store your credit card details.

How modify or cancel my subscription?

At any moment you can manage your subscription and account details. Sign in to modify or cancel.

Aliaksei Kazharski

Visegrad Insight Fellow

Visegrad Insight Fellow. Researcher at the Institute of European Studies and International Relations of the Comenius University in Bratislava and a lecturer at the Department of Security Studies of Charles University in Prague

Newsletter

Weekly updates with our latest articles and the editorial commentary.