This book investigates Russian mechanisms designed to influence and attract countries in the “Common Neighborhood” (Azerbaijan, Belarus, China, Estonia, Finland, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Mongolia, North Korea, Norway, Poland, and Ukraine) and beyond. An understanding of Russian influence abroad must include the growing component of soft power, but cannot be confined to it or bound by established Western definitions of the concept. Synthesizing the findings of a Chatham House research project, Hard Diplomacy and Soft Coercion reveals the ways Russia is attempting to develop informal networks, business links, state-corporate relations, cultural affinities, and linguistic ties with its neighbors and other politically important countries.
Praise for Hard Diplomacy and Soft Coercion:
"This slim volume should be required reading by all policy-makers and diplomats as it
is a primer for understanding the internal triggers of international behaviour generally
and of Russia’s strategic culture specifically. Sherr returns here to themes from his
earlier works, namely how Russia’s history informs its international objectives and
the strategies chosen to pursue those objectives. His trenchant insights warrant
comparison with another short classic, George Kennan’s Russia and the West
under Lenin and Stalin (1961). Sherr’s recommendations for Western strategists are
powerful, not least letting Russia reap the consequences of its choices. This is the
masterwork of one of the few top Russia specialists of his generation."
—S. Enders Wimbush, Executive Director for Strategy & Development, National Bureau
of Asian Research (NBR)
"This concise book is rich in original interpretations of Russia’s ability to turn
weakness into strength. Its logic, while eschewing the conventional juxtaposition of
intentions and capabilities, is far straighter here than in most demand-driven policy
analysis. James Sherr wins over any traditional realist or rational-choice economist
more through the intense power of his arguments, but the persuasive elegance of his
prose also beats most academic narrative by a huge margin."
—Pavel Baev, Research Professor at the Peace Research Institute, Oslo (PRIO)
"James Sherr expertly lays out Russia’s approach to the world and foreign affairs.
This book will be essential reading for anyone who wants to understand what
shapes and motivates Russian policies toward the United States, NATO, Europe and
—Dr Fiona Hill, Director, Center on the United States and Europe and Senior Fellow,
Foreign Policy Program, Brookings Institution.