PD is a system of governmental and nongovernmental structures aimed at a dialogue with foreign societies. Whether political or not, the dialogue is the key task of PD that can be fulfilled via the expert community, civil society (NGOs), the sphere of education (academic exchange, etc.), culture (theatre, etc.), mass media (international mass media like RT
). Today all these elements of classic PD (by the way, we use the classification of PD elements offered by the West) exercised by Russia are declared in the West a threat to their national security. Western experts have come to use a new term, "sharp power", to name the Russian PD.
"Sharp power" is a fresh (2017) idea American experts  from the National Endowment for Democracy
came up with. NED is the notorious American fund, a non grata American GONGO in Russia that claims to be promoting democracy worldwide and "making democracy work". According to the concept of "sharp power", China, Russia and other countries the U.S. consider "authoritarian" exercise not soft power
but propaganda only. The "sharp power" is considered inimical and undesired for the western society because, as the concept's authors claim, "the regimes strive to manipulate their target audiences by means of disinformation". The theoretical concept itself refuses Russia and a number of other countries the right to exercise PD.
Joseph Nye, the author of the soft power concept, was not enthusiastic about that new "sharp power" concept. According to Nye, "sharp power" could only be used to describe such activities of China or Russia as, for instance, secretive support of radio stations in other countries or creating fake accounts in social networks, whereas RT
and the Chinese CGTN
have always broadcast legally and openly abroad, which made RT
legal PD instruments, even if the content of broadcasts did not make the American side happy . Joseph Nye further warned that democratic countries had to react to other countries' "sharp power" carefully enough not to undermine their own soft power.
The trends of the past five years, however, show that the U.S. government and the governments allied with the U.S. are much keener on the "sharp power" concept and pay more attention to practicing it than to Nye's warnings. In fact, the West is engaged in an uncompromising struggle with any Russian soft power .
Interestingly, when the NED experts proposed promoting the "sharp power" concept they knew exactly what it was about because, without realizing or admitting it, they assumed the concept and the term that perfectly described their own PD methods and behavior. Indeed, the methods Washington has been applying to the Russian PD are those of "sharp power". Trying to put the Russian side at a disadvantage, Americans have been removing any signs of the Russian presence from their own public space, step by step, with a surgeon's precision, and leaving only negative information about Russia and Russians in order to put a scare of any contacts with our country into the western audiences.