The root of the war in Ukraine is the indoctrination in Russia


Veronika Maynard

Art Design by Veronika Maynard. Russian President, Vladimir Putin has used the media to manipulate Russian people’s understanding of the conflict.

Indoctrination and censorship is undoubtedly the sole reason this war has gone on as long as it has. If most of the Russian people were not isolated from the outside world since they were young, and had access to legitimate news sources, there would have been too much opposition to the war for it to begin in the first place.

People would have been able to tell from the start that something wasn’t right, when Russian President Vladimir Putin stated that they were fighting a Nazi country even though the Ukrainian president is Jewish. But extreme censorship and indoctrination has blinded many Russians from the very obvious truth.

Censorship in soviet media has existed since the creation of the USSR. When Stalin starved and killed millions of Ukrainians in the course of a couple of years, he was able to get most Russian public support for it. He started his campaign years before he enacted the holodomor (the starvation), comparing Ukrainians to insects, dehumanizing them. And when he began actively harming Ukrainians, it was accepted, because Ukrainians – over the course of a few years – became something not human in Russian media.

And it is these tactics that Stalin used in the 1930s Putin continues to use today. He spreads disinformation to garner support for the war, claiming that all Ukrainians are nationalists, that the Jewish democratically elected president, is a Nazi. So when Putin invades Ukraine to ‘liberate’ the civilians living there, less people have objections.

But censorship and disinformation traces farther back than just the media. It is in the education system, where children are taught that Stalin, the man who massacred millions, was a Russian hero. Children are taken to a Lenin or Stalin museum at some point in their elementary school years and told about the amazing, heroic deeds of their previous leaders.

“You couldn’t see it while you were there,” said sophomore Nicholas Formel. “It is really hard to identify something that you grew up with and that was normal for you. But when you come to a place like America, you begin to see that.”

One of the biggest current lies the Kremlin is spreading, besides the one that there is no war, is that Ukrainians persecute Russians who live in Ukraine, that all Ukrainians hate Russians – even though one out of six Ukrainians are ethnically Russian – which is why Putin is invading Ukraine. To save the Russians.

Putin is trying to spin a protective narrative when in actuality he is most likely invading Ukraine because he never saw Ukraine as a country, but rather as an extension of Russia; and as NATO creeps closer to Russian borders, Putin was most likely threatened and figure it was time to make Ukraine Kremlin’s once more.

And he had the perfect framework in the people of his country to raise support for the war. Any opposition that people had, they were forced to squash in order to survive.

For survival, you had to be on the president’s side. Because if you oppose, you either get assassinated, or you lose any means of livelihood. It is no wonder that many older generation’s of Russians support the war. Any critical thinking was beaten out of them when they were younger. The culmination of the past 100 years of control have led to the genocides we see from Putin today.

That is the legacy of Russia’s indoctrination.