How the Russian state and media underestimate the intelligence of the Russian people

Christian Baghai
3 min readNov 25, 2023

The recent events in Ukraine have exposed the deep rift between the Russian state and media and the Russian people. While the Kremlin and its loyal outlets have tried to justify and glorify the invasion of a sovereign country, many Russians have expressed their dissent and dissatisfaction with the war and its consequences. The Russian state and media have underestimated the intelligence of the Russian people, who are not easily fooled by propaganda and disinformation.

One of the main tools of the Russian state and media to manipulate public opinion is the state-controlled and state-funded media outlets RT and Sputnik. These outlets are part of the five pillars of Russia’s disinformation and propaganda ecosystem, according to a report by the Global Engagement Center. They spread false and misleading narratives that serve the interests of the Kremlin, such as portraying Ukraine as a failed state, NATO as an aggressive alliance, and the West as an enemy. They also amplify the voices of pro-Russian politicians, activists, and experts, while suppressing or discrediting the voices of critics, opponents, and independent journalists.

However, the Russian people are not as gullible as the state and media assume. Many Russians have access to alternative sources of information, such as independent media, social media, and foreign outlets. They can compare and contrast different perspectives and facts, and form their own opinions and judgments. They can also see through the hypocrisy and corruption of the Russian state and media, who claim to be fighting for the people, but are actually enriching themselves and their cronies. For example, the recent raids on the properties of Yevgeny Prigozhin, the head of the mercenary Wagner Group, revealed his lavish lifestyle and his involvement in atrocities and crimes. Prigozhin, who was once portrayed as a people’s hero and a patriot by his own media, was exposed as a fraud and a villain.

The Russian people are also not passive or submissive. They have shown their courage and resilience in protesting against the war, the repression, and the injustice that they face. They have demanded their rights, their dignity, and their democracy. They have challenged the authority and legitimacy of the Russian state and media, who have tried to silence and intimidate them. They have also expressed their solidarity and sympathy with the Ukrainian people, who are suffering from the aggression and occupation of the Russian forces.

The Russian state and media have underestimated the intelligence of the Russian people, but they have also overestimated their own power and influence. They have failed to convince and persuade the majority of the Russian people to support their policies and actions. They have also failed to isolate and alienate the Russian people from the rest of the world. The Russian people are not blind or brainwashed. They are smart and aware. They are not enemies or traitors. They are friends and partners. They are not the problem. They are the solution.