Russian Public-Diplomacy Efforts to Influence Neighbors: Media Messaging Supports Hard-Power Projection in Ukraine and Georgia

Maureen Taylor, Natalie M. Rice, Oleg Manaev, Catherine A. Luther, Suzie L. Allard, R. Alexander Bentley, Joshua Borycz, Benjamin D. Horne, Brandon C. Prins


Nations use media to disseminate stories about their culture, history, and values. This study explored Russian public-diplomacy efforts by examining news content exported to its neighbors, Ukraine and Georgia, from February 2021 to July 2021, approximately one year before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. We looked at pro-Russia media that targeted Russian-speaking Georgians and Ukrainians showing that Russian public-diplomacy messaging was not so much about Russia, as it was about anti-Western frames. Local pro-Russia media in Ukraine and Georgia repeated these anti-Western frames in their news coverage. These anti-Western frames provide insight into the messaging before the February 2022 invasion of Ukraine, thus contributing unique insights into public-diplomacy messaging for theorizing soft and hard power.


Georgia, public diplomacy, media, Russia, soft and hard power, Ukraine

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