Theoretical Conceptualization of Russia’s Soft Power toward Georgia

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From a global perspective, in 2008-2018 Russia fundamentally transformed its soft power strategy. From a regional perspective, this transformation can be seen clearly in the case of Georgia. The aim of this paper is to examine Russia’s soft power theoretical conceptualization toward Georgia. The paper is built upon the insight introduced by Craig Hayden in his book “The Rhetoric of Soft Power: Public Diplomacy in Global Contexts” (2012). According to Hayden “a crucial step toward understanding soft power is to ascertain how international actors understand the concept and make use of it, explicitly or implicitly, in their strategies and actions.” This particular standpoint is important to better analyze an actor state’s process of soft power formulation. In the framework of this viewpoint the specific objective of this paper is to evaluate Russia’s soft power theoretical conceptualization by discussing it according to one of the soft power behaviors - agenda-setting. In this paper the term “Soft Power” is used in its narrowest terms presented by Joseph S. Nye in his book “The Future of Power” (2011). According to Nye, soft power refers to “the ability to get preferred outcomes through the co-optive means of agenda- setting, persuasion, and attraction.” Presented in Georgian, the research is interdisciplinary as it integrates various academic fields from the humanities, social and political sciences. Different research methods have been utilized to identify and characterize the issue, including comparative historical research and critical and document analysis. The present research is based on the primary sources, such as foreign policy documents, i.e. Foreign Policy Concept and National Security Strategy of the Russian Federation. Author highlights the international and regional issues that accelerated Russia’s soft power theoretical conceptualization and the need of its practical use in modern Russian diplomacy. The paper discusses Russian soft power in contrast with the traditional, classical meaning of the term proposed by Joseph S. Nye. Moreover, paper analyzes those foreign policy issues that are put into the center of Russia’s soft power theoretical conceptualization toward Georgia. Research results show that Russia’s soft power toward Georgia is formulated in a relatively detailed manner.
Soft power, Foreign policy, Georgia, Russia