You know your crazy uncle — the guy who says Bill Gates is trying to implant microchips in everyone through the vaccines and that Donald Trump won the election? The guy who leaves all these opinions in the comment section of Patterico.com? That guy exists everywhere — including Russia. The New York Times reports:
Four days after Russia began dropping artillery shells on Kyiv, Misha Katsurin, a Ukrainian restaurateur, was wondering why his father, a church custodian living in the Russian city of Nizhny Novgorod, hadn’t called to check on him.
“There is a war, I’m his son, and he just doesn’t call,” Mr. Katsurin, who is 33, said in an interview. So, Mr. Katsurin picked up the phone and let his father know that Ukraine was under attack by Russia.
“I’m trying to evacuate my children and my wife — everything is extremely scary,” Mr. Katsurin told him.
He did not get the response he expected. His father, Andrei, didn’t believe him.
“No, no, no, no stop,” Mr. Katsurin said of his father’s initial response.
“He started to tell me how the things in my country are going,” said Mr. Katsurin, who converted his restaurants into volunteer centers and is temporarily staying near the western Ukrainian city of Ternopil. “He started to yell at me and told me, ‘Look, everything is going like this. They are Nazis.’”
In a recent article about unseen footage in a documentary about Roger Stone, the Washington Post cited “Stone’s Rules,” which the Post says is “a collection of career lessons including how voters will believe a ‘big lie’ if it is kept simple and repeated often enough.” Donald Trump knows this, because it works on your crazy uncle the Patterico commenter. And Vladimir Putin knows this, because it works on a lot of his people. Back to the Timesreport:
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.
These relatives have essentially bought into the official Kremlin position: that President Vladimir V. Putin’s army is conducting a limited “special military operation” with the honorable mission of “de-Nazifying” Ukraine. Mr. Putin has referred to the Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelensky, a native Russian speaker with a Jewish background, as a “drug-addled Nazi” in his attempts to justify the invasion.
. . . .
Mr. Katsurin is not alone in his frustration. When 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,” Ms. Kremyr said in a phone interview. She said her siblings think the Russians are striking military infrastructure “with precision, and that’s it.”
She said her sister Lyubov, who lives in Perm, wished her a happy birthday on Feb. 25, the second day of the invasion. When Ms. Kremyr wrote back about the situation on the ground, her sister’s answer via direct message was simple: “No one is bombing Kyiv, and you should actually be afraid of the Nazis, whom your father fought against. Your children will be alive and healthy. We love the Ukrainian people, but you need to think hard about who you elected as president.”
Similarly, This American Life did a segment last week on the Russian people’s views of Putin. The correspondent, Charles Maynes, had a problem: people in Russia are often understandably afraid to speak their minds. After all, their president has declared war on “Fake News” such as calling the war in Ukraine a war, and the punishment can be as much as 15 years. His solution: speak to a woman named Oleg Sergeevna whom he has known for years, who hosted him when he was an exchange student. She had always been honest and forthright with him. What she had to say was representative of what Trump cult members say here. The leader is awesome. The bad stories about him are Fake News. Maynes says:
For Olga Sergeevna it wasn’t just that Putin made the country better. It was that he could do no wrong.
Olga Sergeevna Dmitrieva
I love Putin.
Olga Sergeevna Dmitrieva
Because he’s smart, intelligent, cultured, athletic, she says. He’s even a musician, plays and sings.
. . . .
When it comes to the bad things Americans hear about Putin– that he’s corrupt, that he’s secretly one of the world’s richest men, or that he’s meddled in the American elections– Olga Sergeevna says that’s all lies perpetuated by Western journalists, people like me.
Ira Glass concludes the segment by saying:
This past week, he phoned Olga the day that Moscow invaded Ukraine to find out what she thought. She thinks Putin made the right call, that he was going in to help the separatists in Eastern Ukraine who’ve declared themselves independent of Ukraine and pro-Moscow. She believes Ukrainian authorities were going to attack people in that territory with arms they got from the United States.
The President of Ukraine, Zelensky, she told Charles he’s a clown. Biden’s a dope. Putin, still the smartest of the pack.
Putin is the smartest of them all, believe me, and he alone can fix it.