Global rankings — whether they are surveying education, peace or soft power — are inherently biased. Assigning nations scores based on a set of what are often changeable and intangible factors is a hugely subjective business. It is nearly impossible to stitch together any kind of formula to accurately measure such factors — and any ranking therefore should be viewed skeptically.
But Russia’s entry to the ‘Soft Power 30’ ranking at number 27 last week was met with a shock and disbelief that goes beyond a little bit of objective skepticism. The Financial Times regarded it as the “biggest surprise” on the list. Newsweek too called it a “real surprise” — and predictably, many of the usual suspects weren’t happy to accept Moscow’s placement on the list, point blank.