Copyright © 2021

The work of Euromaidan Press is supported by the International Renaissance Foundation

When referencing our materials, please include an active hyperlink to the Euromaidan Press material and a maximum 500-character extract of the story. To reprint anything longer, written permission must be acquired from [email protected].

Privacy and Cookie Policies.

Moscow propaganda works by confusing fact and fiction, Pomerantsev says

Peter Pomerantsev at the Legatum Institute (Image: YES)
Peter Pomerantsev at the Legatum Institute (Image: YES)
Moscow propaganda works by confusing fact and fiction, Pomerantsev says

Peter Pomerantsev, the Kyiv-born author of “Nothing is True and Everything is Possible,” says that Moscow propaganda works because it breaks down the distinctions between fact and fiction and provides emotionally satisfied narratives regardless of their truthfulness.

In a speech to the Yalta European Strategy Forum in Kyiv reported by the “Kyiv Post” yesterday, Pomerantsev points out that “’Back in the 20th century we had a very clear perception of what propaganda was,’ adding that back then propaganda stemmed from the absence of information. ‘It was about getting the truth through the Iron Curtain.’”

“But since then,” he continues, “the nature of Kremlin propaganda has drastically changed,” basing his conclusion on his research among Russian-speakers in the Baltic countries. “Now they have access to local, Russian and Western media,” he points out, and thus “instead of a lack of information, they almost have too much.”

The reaction of people in these communities, Pomerantsev says, is “not to believe anyone” but to decide that they would “go with the Russians because they are more emotional and the stories they tell are more exciting. They are more objective because they are more like the cinema.” Not more true, but easier to assimilate.

Pomerantsev says that “the essence of disinformation has always been to muddy the waters and sow confusion.” As a result of that effort now, some people say “’I don’t really know what’s going on. Ukraine is far away. Why should I care?’” And in that situation, Russia’s destruction of “any border between facts and fiction – and it was really pretty damn shaky” has been destroyed.

“The Kremlin narrative,” he says, “now is that ‘there is no truth out there, and you’ll never find it; but go with us because our emotional content is more vital.” That promotes cynicism and “cynicism breaks down critical thinking” because at its root “is something quite medieval and emotional – a world of myths and storytelling.”

“When you don’t believe in facts,” Pomerantsev concludes, “you are just left with that.”

You could close this page. Or you could join our community and help us produce more materials like this.  We keep our reporting open and accessible to everyone because we believe in the power of free information. This is why our small, cost-effective team depends on the support of readers like you to bring deliver timely news, quality analysis, and on-the-ground reports about Russia's war against Ukraine and Ukraine's struggle to build a democratic society. A little bit goes a long way: for as little as the cost of one cup of coffee a month, you can help build bridges between Ukraine and the rest of the world, plus become a co-creator and vote for topics we should cover next. Become a patron or see other ways to support. Become a Patron!

To suggest a correction or clarification, write to us here

You can also highlight the text and press Ctrl + Enter

Please leave your suggestions or corrections here

    Related Posts