Another Blow to Russia’s Bid to Boost Soft Power

In an op-ed in The Moscow Times, Peter Rutland, professor of government, Colin and Nancy Campbell Professor in Global Issues and Democratic Thought, writes about the Magnitsky Act recently passed by the U.S. House of Representatives, which sanctions individuals deemed to be involved in the persecution and death of Sergei Magnitsky in 2009. Russian critics condemn the Act as “part of some devious scheme to isolate Russia,” but Rutland writes: “Russia will never succeed in its campaign to be accepted as a regular member of the community of nations if it doesn’t realize that human rights really matter. Nor will there be any benefit from spending millions of dollars on campaigns to promote Russia’s ‘soft power’ if the message those media carry is a crude defense of indefensible actions by Russian officials.”