'Forced to Friendship'? Russian (mis-)understandings of soft power and the implications for audience attraction in Ukraine

Victoria Hudson*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalSpecial issue

Abstract

This article argues that for all its efforts to implement soft power techniques, the Kremlin still fails to grasp the subtle, voluntaristic essence of soft power. This is reflected in a style of public interaction that has practical implications for how Russian soft power overtures are received by the audience. This is demonstrated through the findings of mixed-method empirical research from four Ukrainian regions. Thus, while surveys show that the worldview promoted by Russian public diplomacy resonates to some extent, insights from focus groups indicate that potential attraction is nevertheless limited by Russia's 'hard' and obtrusive approach to cultural influence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)330-346
Number of pages17
JournalPolitics
Volume35
Issue number3-4
Early online date14 Jul 2015
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2015

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Ukraine
friendship
worldview
diplomacy
empirical research
Russia
interaction
Group

Bibliographical note

Funding: BASEES and ESRC.

A copy of the survey and focus group guide are available from the author upon request.

Keywords

  • audience reception
  • focus groups
  • russia
  • soft power
  • Ukraine

Cite this

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'Forced to Friendship'? Russian (mis-)understandings of soft power and the implications for audience attraction in Ukraine. / Hudson, Victoria.

In: Politics, Vol. 35, No. 3-4, 11.2015, p. 330-346.

Research output: Contribution to journalSpecial issue

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AB - This article argues that for all its efforts to implement soft power techniques, the Kremlin still fails to grasp the subtle, voluntaristic essence of soft power. This is reflected in a style of public interaction that has practical implications for how Russian soft power overtures are received by the audience. This is demonstrated through the findings of mixed-method empirical research from four Ukrainian regions. Thus, while surveys show that the worldview promoted by Russian public diplomacy resonates to some extent, insights from focus groups indicate that potential attraction is nevertheless limited by Russia's 'hard' and obtrusive approach to cultural influence.

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