Monday, June 13, 2022

Even Many who Back Putin’s War Offended by Moscow’s Heavy-Handed Propaganda

Paul Goble

            Staunton, May 26 – After Vladimir Putin declared in early March that he was simultaneously a Russian and a member of various Daghestani nationalities, an order went out from Moscow that all non-Russian areas must develop Z-themed signs and activities to show their support for his war in Ukraine.

            Officials duly complied, putting up signs with the letter “Z” on cultural facilities and organizing concerts and other activities around that theme. But in some places at least, the official effort has been so heavy-handed and done without any consultation with the people involved that even those who support the war have been put off.

            In Karelia, the Severreal portal says, many of the workers in cultural institutions are even split between those who support the war and those who oppose it. Those who oppose it naturally are against these official propaganda efforts, but so too are many who do support the Kremlin policy (

            They are offended on two grounds. On the one hand, they resent that what is being organized is being done without their being consulted at all. As artists, they feel they are being abused. And on the other, they resent the crudity of the propaganda believing that there are better ways to present the same argument.

            That those who oppose the war also oppose the propaganda is no surprise, but that many who support it are against it as well calls attention to something that may have been overlooked. After the experience of relative freedom in earlier years, many Russians even if they agree with Kremlin policy on this or that question are angry about how it is promoting it.

            Such people can’t be classified at least not yet as opponents of the Putin regime; but they clearly already are not truly among its unqualified supporters.

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