1st Edition

Russia and Latvia A Case of Sharp Power

By Andis Kudors Copyright 2024

    This book explores Russia’s relations with Latvia, arguing that Latvia, with a higher proportion of Russian speakers than other Baltic states, is especially vulnerable to Russia’s “sharp power”.  The book highlights how authoritarian and totalitarian regimes are unable to exercise soft power based on the attractiveness of the country's culture and values, which would help them gain the favour of the audience of the target countries, but instead, as in the case of Russia, use public diplomacy, compatriot policy, media policy, propaganda, and disinformation to produce a destructive effect, distorting the democracies of target countries and increasing national security risks. The book provides in-depth detail on how Russia is making use of this “sharp power” in Latvia, examines the consequences and assesses the dangers for the future.



    List of Tables

    List of Abbreviations



    1.     Extremely Sharp Power

    2.     Methods of Sharp Power: Definitions

    3.     The Context: One Hundred Years of Latvian-Russian Bilateral Relations

    4.     History Still Matters: The Kremlin’s Diplomacy of Remembrance as One of the Main Elements of Sharp Power

    5.     Russian Compatriot Policy Against Latvian Educational, Language and Citizenship Policies

    6.     ‘Russian World’: Geopolitics, Values, and Culture

    7.     The Russian Orthodox Church and Latvia

    8.     Russian Media in Latvia: Much More than ‘RT’ and ‘Sputnik’

    9.     Social Media as a New Ground for Confrontation

    10.  Elections and Referenda in Latvia: ‘Neighbour’s Footprints in the Backyard’

    11.  The Regional Dimension: Separatism of Latgale that Never Materialized

    12.  The Emotional Side of Sharp Power: From Humour to Rudeness




    Andis Kudors is an Adjunct Lecturer in the Faculty of Social Sciences in the University of Latvia, Latvia