Russian soft power cultivation in the United States of America: a media content analysis of Russia beyond the headlines
The relationship between Russia and the United States of America has been a dominant feature of the international relations landscape for much of the last century. Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, this relationship has been significantly altered. Over the last decade, a resurgent Russia has begun to exert its influence on the global stage once again. This effort has been characterized by a mixture of traditional “hard power” and a relatively new form of “soft power.” The government of the Russian Federation has developed a broad strategy for engaging the rest of the world with the intention of improving the image of Russia. One component of this effort began in 2007 when the Russian-government-owned Rossiyskaya Gazeta newspaper began to publish a supplemental news section in the Washington Post and the Daily Telegraph. This supplemental news section is now known as Russia Beyond the Headlines, and it is published in 26 countries and 16 languages. The purpose of this publication is to engage an elite section of foreign audiences around the world, and hopefully influence their mindset as it relates to Russia. This thesis provides a historical background of the Soviet Union and Russian Federation’s efforts at cultivating soft power in general, as well as an in-depth study of the content of Russia Beyond the Headlines during 2014 in the three domestic US newspapers (the Washington Post, the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal). This study ultimately concludes that the content of Russia Beyond the Headlines within the US market is adequately able to achieve its goals through a variety of strategies, and that further research is needed to understand the larger impact of the Russian Federation’s exercise of soft power in both the United States of America and around the world.