April 05, 2022

Putin's War on the Russian Mind


Putin's War on the Russian Mind
Speaking to the people, but not always for the people. Wikimedia Commons, Press Office of the President of Russia

To bolster the support of the Russian people, domestic news is inundated with false information. To justify the invasion, the Kremlin continues to tell Russians that Ukrainians are "neo-Nazis," and that their government is being run by Washington and "drug addicts."

According to Radio Free Liberty correspondent Yelena Rykovtseva, "All of television is now full of military brainwashing." The media bombards its viewers with lies about the Ukrainian military in Mariupol, saying that they are using humans as shields and are slaughtering local residents. (The reality is just the opposite.)

Levada Center analyst Aleksei Levinson reported that the Russian public "so far has no reason not to believe what they are being told," but he goes on to say that many feel the war is wrong. Of course, it's tough to gauge exactly what the Russian public is feeling, but there is a dissatisfied undercurrent.

In short, the Kremlin's grip on the media has only grown stronger since Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Putin has made it illegal to call the "special operation" an invasion or a war, arguing that the now failed invasion was undertaken purely to protect fellow "Russians" (i.e. Russian speakers) suffering from discrimination at the hands of the Ukrainian government.

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