Putin’s propaganda and the war on information

Disinformation scholar Peter Pomerantsev on Putin’s obsession with Ukraine and the propaganda he has used to hoodwink the Russian people and justify his war.

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Russian President Vladimir Putin sits at a table

Russian President Vladimir Putin chairs a meeting with members of the government via teleconference in Moscow, Thursday, March 10, 2022. (Mikhail Klimentyev, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)

The war in Ukraine is entering its third week and civilian deaths are mounting. This week, we saw the photograph of a Ukrainian family killed by mortar fire as they attempted to flee and watched Russian soldiers continue to bludgeon the city of Mariupol. We’re seeing the aftermath of a strike on a maternity hospital, Ukrainians burying their dead in mass graves and the faces of terrified refugees. But what are the Russian people seeing?

The Kremlin has always tightly controlled information with censorship and its own propaganda. Since the invasion, Putin has cracked down even more on war coverage, passing a new law that prohibits the spreading of “false information” about the war. Instead, Russia is spreading misinformation about neo-Nazis controlling Ukrainian, blaming Ukraine nationalists for civilian casualties and crisis actors for some of the horrific images.

This hour, Ukraine-born journalist and disinformation scholar PETER POMERANTSEV joins us to discuss Putin’s obsession with Ukraine and the propaganda he has used to hoodwink the Russian people and justify his war.

Read more

Time, What Putin’s Nazi Talk Reveals About His Plans for Ukraine – Vladimir Putin is an old man scared of death trying to turn back time. Ukraine and Ukrainians are as his blood sacrifice. His invasion of their country is his attempt to forestall his personal, inevitable demise.

Vanity Fair, “We’re Underestimating What Mr. Putin Is Up To”: Sizing Up Media Coverage of Russia’s Attack on Ukraine – “We’re sort of framing this as a plucky country slaying a dictatorship,” says author Peter Pomerantsev. “But Putin is this mad stalker trying to get revenge.”

Atlantic, I Watched Russian TV So You Don’t Have To – According to Russian state TV, Putin is the good guy. Many Russians believe it.

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