The Russian People

About 30% of the U.S. population believe Trump’s Big Lie that the 2020 election was stolen by Biden. They believe it because they have been mainly or fully exposed to Trumpian propaganda disseminated by Fox News and other radical right-wing propagandistic media outlets. This is in a country with plenty of access to legitimate responsible sources of news. Imagine if Americans had no source other than these radical right-wing propaganda outlets. Probably a majority of Americans would believe malicious falsehoods like Trump’s Big Lie.

In recent years, Putin has increasingly suppressed dissent and independent media in Russia. In order to suppress the truth about the invasion of Ukraine and the horrors he has inflicted on the Ukrainian people, he has gone into full-fledged totalitarian mode, threatening 15-year prison terms for anyone caught expressing an opinion or reporting any news that’s not in accord with the state-sponsored propaganda. No wonder Ukrainians say that some Russian relatives they’ve communicated with can’t believe that Russia is guilty of brutal, baseless, unprovoked aggression against Ukraine.

The truth seeps in through the cracks, however, as is evident from the fact that thousands of Russians have risked being beaten up or imprisoned for long terms for protesting Putin’s wanton aggression. In supporting Ukraine, Western powers should be scrupulously circumspect in showing respect for Russian sovereignty and the Russian people. It is their evil ruler and his cabal that is our enemy, not the Russian people, whom we should do as much as we can to enlighten about the true facts. Putin can only delay, but never prevent, the day coming when most Russians will revile him, as they would now if they knew the facts.