The Russian government’s propaganda machine is making every effort to prevent its own citizens, the Russian people, from learning the true nature and scope of Vladimir Putin’s senseless and unprovoked invasion of Ukraine. In the days and weeks prior to the attack, Russian state media, social media platforms and news outlets across the country were filled with outrageous disinformation, spreading wild claims with the goal of convincing the Russian people that Russia’s armed forces needed to invade Ukraine to “demilitarize and de-nazify” Ukraine, both blatant lies.
Since the beginning of the invasion on February 24, the Russian government has turned its efforts to preventing Russian citizens from finding out what’s really going on in Ukraine, including outlawing the use of the term “war” in this context.
“The Kremlin is engaged in a full assault on media freedom and the truth, and Moscow’s efforts to mislead and suppress the truth of the brutal invasion are intensifying,” said State Department Spokesperson Ned Price in a written statement.
On March 1, Russia’s Prosecutor General ordered RosKomNadzor, the government media and communications censorship agency, to restrict access to the well-respected, independent outlets Ekho Moskvy Radio and TV Dozhd , blocking their websites and ability to broadcast. Russia’s Federation Council has since enacted a law threatening prison sentences of up to 15 years for the spread of “false” information about Russian military operations.
“Russia’s government is also throttling Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram platforms that tens of millions of Russia’s citizens rely on to access independent information and opinions and to connect with each other and the outside world,” said Spokesperson Price. This is yet another way by which the government “limit[s] where and how Russian citizens can see and share evidence of the truth of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.”
“The people of Russia did not choose this war. Putin did. They have a right to know about the death, suffering, and destruction being inflicted by their government on the people of Ukraine,” said Spokesperson Price.
“The people of Russia also have a right to know about the human costs of this senseless war to their own soldiers. We call upon Putin and his government to honor Russia’s international obligations and commitments, to immediately cease this bloodshed, withdraw its troops from Ukraine’s territory, and to respect the human rights and fundamental freedoms of their own citizens.”