ABSTRACT

Initially, the concept of the ‘Russian world’ was conceived and primarily used as a resource of soft power, in line with Joseph Nye’s concept that one of the resources of a country’s soft power is embedded in culture. However, in his speech of March 18, 2014, Vladimir Putin justified the illegal Russian annexation of Crimea with the unification of the ‘Russian world,’ thereby transferring the concept of the ‘Russian world’ from the realm of the soft to the sharp power. The concept of the ‘Russian world’ politicises Russian culture and language, therefore it creates tension in Russia’s neighbouring countries. The politicised approach has caused annoyance among many Latvians, in whose minds memories of the Russification imposed by the Soviet Union in occupied Latvia are still alive. The current war in Ukraine further changes the perception of the idea of the ‘Russian world’ in Latvia and other neighbouring countries of Russia.