"One can acknowledge all of Russia's transgressions while simultaneously recognizing that modern post-Soviet Ukraine is not, and never has been, anything like the U.S./U.K.-style bastion of 'liberal democracy,'" writes Josh Hammer.
More so than perhaps any story in my adult lifetime, there is now an astonishing amount of disinformation pertaining to Vladimir Putin‘s war of aggression in Ukraine. Russian disinformation and Russian propaganda, by now infamous for any American with even a cursory knowledge of the 2016 and 2020 presidential elections, has of course proliferated on social media.
But, crucially, so has Ukrainian disinformation and Ukrainian propaganda. Amidst Putin’s reckless revanchism, Ukraine’s defiant president, Volodymyr Zelensky, has seized the opportunity to play a naturally sympathetic Western audience like a fiddle. How else to characterize the Ukrainian government’s opportunistic analogizing of Russia’s damaging of the Babi Yar Holocaust Memorial with the actual World War II-era genocide committed at Babi Yar—a genocide committed by German Nazis, that is, with no shortage of complicity from all-too-eager local Ukrainians? How else to describe the mysterious blue-checked Twitter account “@Ukraine,” which blasts out mawkish videos highlighting the ubiquity of Western support for the besieged country? Indeed, the Ukrainian cause has replaced John Lennon’s “Imagine” as the apotheosis of liberal internationalist fantasizing.