Kremlin

Soft Power with an Iron Fist: Putin Administration to Change the Face of Russia’s Foreign Policy Toward Its Neighbors

By Dumitru Minzarari

Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev’s talk at the Russian Foreign Ministry on September 3, when he powerfully stressed the need for his country to strengthen and consolidate its “soft power” (mid.ru, September 3), may look to an outside observer like an optimistic signal and a long-awaited change in Russia’s foreign policy. This benign view, however, could not be more wrong. Rather, the Kremlin is seeking to exploit the Western concept of “soft power”—which basically implies the power of attraction—and reframing it as a euphemism for coercive policy and economic arm-twisting.