Theoretical argument The core theoretical argument of this paper is based on assumption that if great powers compete for influence over region with other “hard powers”, they use soft power as a means of expanding or sustaining their spheres of influence and for these aims, they might utilize various soft power tools. Leaning on Neoclassical Realism, the State and Foreign Policy (2009), edited by Steven Lobell, Norrin Ripsman and Jeffrey Taliaferro, no matter whether it is deception or truth, seduction or manipulation, foreign aid or propaganda, all types of policies directed to change attitude of states and opinion of foreign societies can be considered as soft power building. As, for instance, militarily strong states can use various types of military power (navy, air force, nuclear weapons, etc.) to force the targeted object to do what they wanted of them, the states may also enjoy wide variety of soft power instruments to achieve desired results.
However, this paper underscores the main point that the success of soft power making by the great powers depends primarily on the internal dynamics of the target states. It is quite clear that the most influential internal factor in authoritarian states always stays leading elites, which can control, for instance, the flow of propaganda, limit the activities and presence of foreign NGOs and etc. and, thereby it can be stated that all political power in any decisions regarding foreign affairs are owned by Presidents and their close circles. Therefore, if the weak state with authoritarian regime has close inter-elite ties or intensive bilateral relations with great power in a certain level (primarily in order to gain certain benefits or in order to stay in power), then the exerted soft power will be effective enough and the state will bandwagon to Great power. Conversely, if such relation does not exist, then in such states great power may not find a favorable environment in which to trigger soft power and influence the external orientation there. However, transgovernmental and transnational ties are not the sole factors that play important role in shaping the foreign policy of Central Asian states, but rather they serve as the core backbone of the relationship between Russia and the former states.