Russia’s soft power: the case of Moldova and Armenia



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Tartu Ülikooli Euroopa kolledž


The concept of soft power has become an increasingly popular topic of debate since the early 1990s. A countries’ attractiveness can bring about wanted results without the use of hard power, consequently being an important attribute to a countries ability to influence the target. Equally important however, is the targets perception and the context of the relationship, making it hard to “touch” the intangible soft power and to measure it. Current thesis examined Russia’s soft power in the case of Moldova and Armenia with an aim to show how, how do they vary and what might be the reasons. The results revealed that while Russia has significant leverage in terms of culture and values, the use and perception of policy is different and brings about different results. While Russia uses hard policy in order to influence Moldova thus undermining its soft power, in Armenia, Russian military presence empowers Armenia and contributes to the perception of Russia as the security guarantor. The thesis confirmed the importance of image and perception and the distinction of how soft power is used: when soft power was used and perceived as controlled, soft power over someone type of way, it had a more undermining effect than when soft power was used to contribute to the empowerment of someone.