Propaganda, authoritarianism and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine

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On 24 February 2022, Russia’s attack on Ukraine shook the world. Among many issues forcibly raised by the war, the question of information manipulation has been particularly important for the public and scholars alike. How did Vladimir Putin’s regime manage to convince the Russian public to support the invasion? Unlike brutal dictatorships of the past, Putin’s regime is an ‘informational autocracy’ — the regime relies on the manipulation of information more than repression to secure its dominance. However, media control does not translate into regime support directly. Shaping citizens’ perceptions of the war and the regime is a multidimensional process connected to specific grievances, features of the media system, and ebbs and flows of an authoritarian environment. Research on authoritarian political communication has revealed several consistent patterns that are necessary to explain the dynamic of propaganda, regime support and, ultimately, citizens’ perceptions of the ongoing war.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)763-765
Number of pages3
JournalNature Human Behaviour
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 19 May 2022


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