Please read a new essay by my Hoover colleague, Paul Gregory.
Vladimir Putin’s propaganda machine has two overarching goals.
First, the Russian people must believe the Kremlin version of domestic and world events. In this regard, the agents of Russian “information technology” have succeeded. Polls show that Russians believe that Russia is a super power in a hostile world; that there are no Russian troops in Ukraine; that Crimea voluntarily joined Russia; and that a Ukrainian fighter shot down Malaysian Airlines flight MH17.
Second, Kremlin propaganda must discredit Western democracy as dysfunctional and inferior to Russia’s managed “democracy.” Kremlin propaganda has largely failed in this regard. Russians consider their government corrupt, remote from the people, interested in preserving power rather than performing its duties, and lying about the true state of affairs. Nevertheless, Putin’s approval ratings remain high in the absence of rivals, who have fled the country, been indicted, or murdered.