The belief of Russian relatives watching Russian Government media (all independent media has just been shut down) …
(1) There is no war in Ukraine:
As Ukrainians deal with the devastation of the Russian attacks in their homeland, many are also encountering a confounding and almost surreal backlash from family members in Russia, who refuse to believe that Russian soldiers could bomb innocent people, or even that a war is taking place at all.
(2) Russian soldiers are in Ukraine giving Ukrainians warm clothes and food:
On Friday, Russia also banned Facebook and Twitter to try to stem uncontrolled information. All this, Mr. Katsiurin (Ed – in Ukraine) said, explains why his father (Ed – in Russia) told him: “There are Russian soldiers there helping people. They give them warm clothes and food.
(3) No one is firing anything at Kiev.
Valentyna V. Kremyr wrote to her brother and sister in Russia to tell them that her son had spent days in a bomb shelter in the Kyiv suburb of Bucha because of the intensive fighting there, she was also met with disbelief. “They believe that everything is calm in Kyiv, that no one is shelling Kyiv,”
(4) It’s the Ukrainians who are bombing their buildings, not the Russians.
Ms. Kremyr said she sent photos from trusted media sites of mangled tanks and a destroyed building in Bucha to her brother, in Krasnoyarsk, but was met with a jarring response. “He said that this site is fake news,” she said, and that essentially the Ukrainian Army was doing the damage being blamed on Russians.
(5) Ukranian people should not concern themselves with anything which is going on.
For Svetlana, a 60-year-old woman living in Cherkasy, the hardest thing to accept is the advice she has received from her sister, who lives in Belarus, and her cousins in Tomsk, Russia: that she and other Ukrainians should not concern themselves with what is going on.
(6) The West is thrilled about the war and is expecting to profit from it.
She displayed a WhatsApp exchange with her cousin showing that her cousin had also been swayed by a narrative being pushed by Russian state TV: that the West fomented this war, was thrilled to see two “brotherly nations” fighting each other and was expecting to reap a significant profit from it.
See this site, urging Ukrainians to call their Russian relatives and friends and tell them what is really going on:
There are 11 million Ukrainians’ relatives in Russia
Today, the closest people do not trust each other. A son from Kyiv calls his father in Nizhny Novgorod to tell him about the war, but the father does not believe him.
Call your loved ones in Russia. They have been lied to for 20 years.
It’s hard for them. And they’re already scared. Help them, tell the truth. It will be difficult, they will not believe us, there will be hatred. …
Nazism in Ukraine is the KREMLIN MYTH, which was specially created for you, Dad. There are nationalist movements in every country. Both in Russia and Ukraine. But they rarely get more than 3% in elections. …
RUSSIA IS THE AGGRESSOR COUNTRY THAT UNLEASHED A WAR IN EUROPE AND NOW IS KILLING THE PEACEFUL POPULATION OF UKRAINE. It’s true, Mom. Watch any news, except Russian. …
Russia is going through a default, the waves of inflation will fall after it. Now we have already felt the first signs. This happened due to the fact that Putin, violating all international agreements, attacked Ukraine and is now BOMBING CIVIL POPULATION. There is confirmation of this in all authoritative world media (except Russian).
It’s always been the job of political leaders to tell their people stories and fantasies, in order to get them to do their will.
Free speech and a free media have prevented the political gaslighting from being too severe in the last few centuries in the West. But historically that’s been the exception rather than the rule. Now that the western left has re-introduced censorship and cancel culture for short term political gain, expect the West to descend towards the level of China or Russia. And for family get-togethers to be more fraught.