MOSCOW, JUNE 16, 2016 — Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has commented on the Soft Power 30 ranking issued by British public relations agency Portland Communications. The ranking lists Russia among the top 30 most-influential countries in the world in terms of ‘soft power’. The agency, set up by a former political adviser to Tony Blair, names RT among the key factors of Russian influence.

“The efficacy of soft-power tools can only be measured by specific results, not just rankings. Great Britain and the US have repeatedly made attempts to throw a wrench in the works of Russia Today, which clearly demonstrates that the channel is effective. The fact that almost every Russian-language mass media outlet has been banned on Ukrainian territory shows that this form of soft power does work,” Lavrov said.

The authors of the Soft Power 30 named RT as Russia’s key advantage. The TV channel and internet portal is looked upon as one of the central elements in the soft power structure employed by Russia, along with strong diplomacy.

“State-owned channel RT now offers services in multiple languages giving it one of the largest audience bases of any global news broadcaster,” says the ranking. In the Strengths section, Portland’s experts mention RT’s high ratings in Europe and South America, and the fact that its YouTube channel was the first ever among global news broadcasters to receive over a billion hits.

The Soft Power 30 ranking is produced by the London-based political consultancy Portland and is based on the results of opinion polls carried out in 25 countries around the world. The ranking rates countries according to a number of criteria such as the quality of local political institutions, IT development, the popularity of the country’s national culture globally, the network of diplomatic missions, contribution to international cooperation and a number of other factors.

Portland Communications Ltd is a political consultancy and public relations agency set up in 2001 by Tim Allan, a former political adviser to Tony Blair. It provides communications and public affairs advisory services.

RT is a global TV news network that broadcasts 24/7 in English, Arabic and Spanish from its studios in Moscow, Washington, DC, and London. RT has a weekly TV audience of 70 million people in 38 countries, and is the most watched TV news network on YouTube with more 3 billion views. RT is the winner of the Monte Carlo TV Festival Awards for best 24-hour broadcast, and the only Russian TV channel to garner three nominations for the prestigious International Emmy Award for News.