Russia as a counter-normative soft power
The concept of soft power is usually referred to as one of the most important components of states' policies towards each other, grounded in the force of attraction as opposed to coercion and projection of either military or economic strength. Soft power does not engender a theory of its own: it can be conceptualized from competing research perspectives. Realists would claim that developing a soft power strategy could be helpful to soften the harder approaches to indispensable military, financial and economic relations. The main hurdle of applying the concept of soft power to Russian foreign policy is its dual nature: it is both vilified as a Western tool aimed at undermining Russia and its neighbours from the inside, and admired as an effective instrument that allows goals to be attained without the risks of applying force. Under the third presidential term of Vladimir Putin, Russia reassessed previous attempts to socialize itself into the European normative order as having failed.