ABSTRACT

Joseph Nye’s theory of soft power best suits the research of public diplomacy of democratic countries, but it does not allow the full exploration of the nature of the non-military influence of totalitarian and authoritarian regimes, which manifests itself in the deformation of the political process of the target country and a misuse of the media space to deceive the public. Christopher Walker and Jessica Ludwig’s theory of sharp power is very useful, because it sheds light on the inability of authoritarian powers to not tell lies either at home or beyond the country’s borders. Asymmetry is one of the basic features of sharp power. In other words, on the one hand, authoritarian countries demand complete freedom is granted to their propaganda media in democratic countries, but, on the other, they do not allow the same freedom to other countries’ media. This chapter compares soft power to sharp power, highlighting the advantages of the latter concept when studying Russian foreign policy.