Ukraine now sits among the top 20 most influential countries in the world according to the global soft power ranking

Over the past year, Ukraine achieved the highest increase in the  Global Soft Power Index ranking, claiming 37th spot out of 121. It is an international study of the perception of national brands by Brand Finance covering 100,000 respondents.

For comparison, in 2021, Ukraine took 61st place. For the third time, the Ukrainian Institute becomes a partner of the Global Soft Power Index in Ukraine.

The index shows the nation’s ability to influence the preferences and behaviours of various actors in the international arena through attraction or persuasion rather than coercion. The study measures, in particular, influence, familiarity and reputation of countries. In 2023, Ukraine sits among the top 20 most influential countries in the world. This results from the successful execution of its internal end external diplomatic communications approach. Last year, Ukraine ranked 45th in the ranking of influence. According to the familiarity indicator, Ukraine moved up from 47th to 14th place. Ukraine’s reputation has shown a moderate improvement; the metric’s growth is partially disturbed by perceptions of respondents from Asia who believe that Ukraine’s reputation in 2023 marginally declined.

The results were discussed at Global Soft Power Summit, focusing on Ukraine this year, on 2 March, London. The speakers were Former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Boris Johnson, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Dmytro Kuleba, First Lady of Ukraine Olena Zelenska, Creative Director of the Ukrainian Institute Tetyana Filevska, and others.

“Ukraine’s Global Perception Report for 2022 has clearly shown that Ukraine is no longer a terra incognita. This has been further reinforced by Ukraine’s results in the Global Soft Power Index 2023. Over the past year, Ukraine has made a great effort to tell its story, set its narrative, and build support. All of these efforts, from the President down to activists, have paid off,” said Dmytro Kuleba, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine  

How has Ukraine managed to achieve such results? According to regional indicators, the most significant increase in the positive perception of Ukraine’s soft power was reported in Europe, the Middle East and North Africa, North America, and Oceania. These regions provided lethal military equipment and humanitarian aid to Ukraine. The highest scores were given to Ukraine mainly by countries that have common historical or cultural ties with Ukraine: Poland, Lithuania, Estonia, and Latvia.

“Cultural diplomacy is an integral part of soft power. Ukraine surprised the world this year with its bravery, fortitude, and resistance. The Index results show that the world has discovered different aspects of Ukraine, and our voice is gaining more and more importance,” comments Tetyana Filevska, Creative Director at the Ukrainian institute.

According to the Brand Finance report, Georgia’s and Azerbaijan’s support for Ukraine in 2023 is likely to be driven by bitter military conflicts that occurred in the past in these countries. The countries of South Asia, Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa have a rather pessimistic assessment of Ukraine’s soft power. MENA and Asia regions’ perceptions of Russia’s soft power continue to improve in line with Ukraine’s soft power.

During the summit, the Ukrainian Institute and the British Council held a workshop on cultural partnerships between Ukraine and the UK, since culture is also an integral part of the country’s soft power. In particular, the discussion focused on the UK/Ukraine Cultural Season and the Eurovision Song Contest.

The soft power index is also based on indicators such as Business & Trade, Media & Communications, Culture & Heritage, Education & Science, People & Values, International Relations, and Governance. Read more.