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Russia ResurrectedIts Power and Purpose in a New Global Order$
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Kathryn E. Stoner

Print publication date: 2021

Print ISBN-13: 9780190860714

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2021

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190860714.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 26 September 2021

Russian Soft and Sharp Power Resources

Russian Soft and Sharp Power Resources

(p.216) 7 Russian Soft and Sharp Power Resources
Russia Resurrected

Kathryn E. Stoner

Oxford University Press

Beyond its reformed and upgraded traditional military capabilities, Russia under Vladimir Putin’s regime has also developed some new abilities and redeployed some old Soviet-era techniques to battle the West for global hearts and minds. In one sense they are forms of soft power as understood by Joseph Nye. These are power assets like the use of social media to promote Russian interests, traditional media, cultural centers, and goodwill emergency aid, but distinct from the way Nye defines the term as a passive pull toward the goals of a particular country’s preferences, Russian policymakers have used soft power to in a sense “wage friendship.” That is, they employ soft power resources as part of their foreign policy toolkit to further state interests. This chapter also looks at what has become known as “sharp” power—which includes cyber means to shape information environments in Russia’s favor. Various aspects of Russian sharp power include cyber theft and release of information, planting false stories and using fake social media accounts to launder and amplify a message, as well as purchasing Facebook and Twitter ads to further preferred candidates in foreign elections. The chapter includes a discussion of Russian use of sharp power capabilities in the US presidential election in 2016, as well as elsewhere.

Keywords:   Russian power, Russian cyber interference, Russia soft power, Russian foreign aid, Russian cultural influence abroad, Russian social media

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