It sometimes seems to me that Putinist propaganda has turned millions of Russians into mindless haters with barely a trace of empathy for other human beings. Since 2014, the Kremlin has depicted patriotic Ukrainians as vicious, quasi-Nazi nationalists – in contrast to “ordinary Ukrainians,” who are supposedly waiting for Russian liberators to take over their country.
As if it weren’t bad enough, some Russians are now convinced that their children’s patriotic duty is to shell and bomb Ukrainian cities, killing civilians in the process.
State-controlled television is the principal conduit for this propaganda, with the Internet playing an increasingly important but auxiliary role. If the free world managed to do something about this never-ending stream of lies – if it managed to stop it for a couple of days and perhaps broadcast a sobering message instead – a lot could change in Russia in a rather short term.
Unless I’m deluding myself.