RAND Working Paper, Feb 08: Soft Power, Hard Power, and Counterinsurgency: The Early Soviet Experience in Central Asia and Its Implications
In the aftermath of the Russian Revolution, the Bolsheviks were faced with an immense challenge: consolidating power throughout the lands of the Russian Empire. In the portions of that Empire now known as Central Asia (as elsewhere) they faced armed insurgency as well as a variety of other forms of political opposition.

Although the Soviets initially focused on violent suppression of the revolt, a combination of ideology and expedience soon drove them to a different set of tactics to end and prevent effective opposition so as to secure and assure the Soviet state-building effort. These combined “softpower” approaches of winning over key groups with violent exercise of “hardpower” in the form of targeted arrests and executions (sometimes of the very groups recently co-opted). Both the soft and hard actions were taken to effect the same explicit goals of modernization. This was defined as secularism, sex equality, and mass literacy, as well as, of course, Communist political ideology. This paper discusses the Soviet experience and concludes by drawing some parallels and the disconnects with more recent efforts to fight insurgency and opposition, identifying lessons and implications for the near and longer-term.....
Complete 30 page paper at the link.