Teaching Resources to Help Students Make Sense of the War in Ukraine

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sabrina tavernise

From The New York Occasions, I’m Sabrina Tavernise. That is The Every day.

As Russia steps up its bombing marketing campaign in opposition to Ukrainian cities, it’s additionally waging one other battle— over the reality in regards to the battle. My colleague, Valerie Hopkins, on why so many individuals in Russia are in denial about what is occurring, even because it wrecks the lives of their very own relations in Ukraine.

It’s Monday, March 14.

Valerie, you’ve been reporting on the battle in Ukraine because the starting. And also you’ve been listening to tales, many times, of this beautiful stunning misinformation marketing campaign coming from Russia. Are you able to describe what you’ve been listening to and seeing?

valerie hopkins

You already know, I’ve been speaking to lots of people right here in Ukraine, first once I was in Kyiv, after which on the highway. And loads of them have fairly stunning tales about their family in Russia. You already know, Ukraine and Russia are very well related. Thousands and thousands of Ukrainians have family in Russia. A few of them used to reside there.

However now, as a few of Ukraine’s cities are being bombed, as hundreds of thousands of persons are being pressured to flee, persons are attempting to inform their family in Russia what’s happening, they usually’re being met with denial, resistance, and type of a refusal to consider what their relations, their blood family are telling them. And one particular person whose story actually caught out to me was this man, Misha Katsurin.

misha katsurin

Hey, Valerie.

valerie hopkins

Oh, hello, sure. Thanks.

misha katsurin

Are you able to hear me?

valerie hopkins

Misha is 33 years previous. He lives together with his spouse and youngsters in Kyiv, and really owns a extremely fashionable chain of Asian eating places.

misha katsurin

Proper now, after all, all my eating places are closed.

valerie hopkins

And he stated, the fourth morning of the battle—

misha katsurin

I noticed that father nonetheless didn’t name me, like all time.

valerie hopkins

He awoke and realized that he hadn’t heard from his dad in any respect because the battle began.

misha katsurin

And I assumed perhaps he doesn’t know what’s happening right here.

valerie hopkins

His father lives in Russia in a metropolis known as Nizhny Novgorod.

misha katsurin

So I known as him, as a result of that was unusual. There’s a battle, I’m his son, and he doesn’t name me.

valerie hopkins

So he gave his dad a name and advised them what was happening.

misha katsurin

I attempted to inform him how it’s going right here in Kyiv with my household, that Russia began bombing us, that Russia began their invasion, and that I’m attempting to evacuate my kids, my spouse, my household. Every thing is extraordinarily scary, and that’s an actual battle.

valerie hopkins

However he stated his father had a extremely totally different model of occasions and didn’t actually consider him.

misha katsurin

And he began to interrupt me. He stated, no, no, no, no, cease. Every thing is like this. And he began to inform me how the issues in my nation are happening.

valerie hopkins

He stated his father principally stated, no, no, no, and that he denied what Misha was telling him that he sees together with his personal eyes.

misha katsurin

So he advised me that, look, every thing goes like this. So that they’re Nazis. They took the federal government— the Nazis, the Ukrainian Nazis. And so they now management your nation, and—

valerie hopkins

And in any case, he stated, the federal government there, they’re all Nazis.

sabrina tavernise

So Valerie, I’m going to cease for a second on this Nazi reference, as a result of it retains developing. That is an concept that Russian President Vladimir Putin has typically repeated, proper? However why is he doing that?

valerie hopkins

I imply, it doesn’t actually make sense. However for Putin, it’s this bizarre multi-layered argument. He’s attempting to piggyback on the proud legacy of the Soviet defeat of the Nazis in World Conflict II, and he additionally can’t actually take care of the truth that Ukraine desires to have a separate nation and a separate identification from Russia 30 years after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

sabrina tavernise

Proper.

valerie hopkins

And Putin type of sees this Ukrainian rejection of Russia, which has solely gotten stronger since Russia invaded Crimea, and now gotten even stronger— he sees all of this as nationalism. And that nationalism, he type of instantly begins to equate with Nazism, to be able to get assist for this invasion.

sabrina tavernise

So primarily, when he says this, he’s attempting to color Ukrainians as loopy nationalists.

valerie hopkins

Yeah. And I imply, he’s really used these phrases to consult with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who’s really Jewish and in addition a local Russian speaker. And President Putin has referred to him and the folks round him as, quote, “drug-addled Nazis,” on Russian TV, although that is only a utterly outlandish, intentional distortion of the reality.

sabrina tavernise

So Misha’s dad is getting this concept from Putin’s messaging, which is carried by Russian tv. What else did Misha’s dad say that he believes in regards to the battle in Ukraine?

valerie hopkins

Nicely, he definitely doesn’t assume a full-scale battle is definitely taking place.

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misha katsurin

He advised me that there are some troopers. They’re serving to folks. They provide them heat garments and meals.

valerie hopkins

Misha’s dad thinks it’s primarily a rescue operation carried out by the Russian army.

misha katsurin

And now, they’ll attempt to prevent. They won’t hit civilian folks. They may hit some army objects and attempt to prevent.

valerie hopkins

And never solely that. He believes that Russian troopers are liberating Ukrainians from this repressive Nazi authorities, and that almost all of the folks need them there.

misha katsurin

I advised him, Father, look, I’m right here proper now, and I see it with my eyes. So look the way it’s happening in actuality.

sabrina tavernise

So it’s fairly unbelievable {that a} father is denying his personal son’s actuality. However how pervasive is that this? Is that this most Russians’ view of the battle proper now?

valerie hopkins

So we even have seen some fairly important avenue protests in Russia, principally in giant cities, because the invasion began— really, greater than in Russia’s latest historical past. These persons are out within the streets chanting, no to battle, although they know that they’ll seemingly be taken away by the police and detained.

However we’ve additionally seen experiences from Russian cities, together with one finished by this impartial media outlet, Nastoyashcheye Vremya, or Present Time, which went out and spoke to Russian residents and confirmed them footage of the battle in Ukraine.

speaker

[SPEAKING RUSSIAN]

valerie hopkins

And their responses had been—

speaker

[SPEAKING RUSSIAN]

valerie hopkins

“No, that’s not taking place. These pictures are faux.”

speaker

[SPEAKING RUSSIAN]

valerie hopkins

“Ukraine was making ready for an assault on Russia. I’m completely satisfied of that.” And—

speaker

[SPEAKING RUSSIAN]

valerie hopkins

And “I’m for Putin.” They’re primarily repeating what they’ve been listening to from Putin and from discuss present hosts on state TV. So , it’s actually exhausting to get an correct image of public sentiment in Russia.

For a pollster now, simply asking that query may land them in jail or shut their group down. However what this video and what my reporting suggests is that this important, full denial of what’s taking place in Ukraine is definitely fairly frequent in Russia.

sabrina tavernise

Valerie, what did you assume as you had been watching these man-on-the-street interviews? What was going by way of your thoughts?

valerie hopkins

I used to be actually unhappy, however I assume I wasn’t so stunned. I imply, that is the product of years and years of clamping down on free press and more and more escalating rhetoric in media, demonizing the opposite, and slowly constructing the case for one thing precisely like this.

I feel I used to be most shocked, really, when there was a man who actually appeared into the digicam, appeared on the pictures, and stated, Russia’s not bombing Kyiv. It’s like this alternate actuality for thus many individuals. And it’s fascinating for me to attempt to perceive why and the way that may be.

sabrina tavernise

We’ll be proper again.

So Valerie, we’re speaking about Russians who don’t consider what’s taking place to their very own family, who don’t consider and don’t wish to have a look at these images of bombings in Ukrainian cities. And I feel that this leads us to the query of why. What do you assume it has to do with?

valerie hopkins

Nicely, I feel it has rather a lot to do with Vladimir Putin and Russians’ relationship to him. Putin got here to energy at this actually important time for Russia— in 2000, a decade after the collapse of the Soviet Union. And within the intervening interval, there was simply this complete financial upheaval.

You already know, folks knew what to anticipate within the Soviet interval, even when they didn’t like it. And now, there was simply this era of complete uncertainty.

archived recording

Anger is constructing in Russia amongst folks with nothing else to lose. They face a winter of empty bellies, rare heating, and nothing to hope for however spring.

valerie hopkins

Costs skyrocketed, and other people simply couldn’t afford fundamental requirements.

archived recording

For the fifth day in a row, panicky Russians tried to withdraw their financial savings from banks whereas the nation’s monetary system appeared to teeter on the point of collapse.

valerie hopkins

Half of the financial system disappeared.

archived recording

These Arctic coal miners took the mine director hostage after enduring greater than six months with out pay.

valerie hopkins

Individuals had been dwelling in lawlessness.

archived recording

One native chief accusing Moscow politicians of behaving in a means that humiliates the Russian folks.

valerie hopkins

There was a scarcity of belief within the authorities.

archived recording

And many individuals, they don’t consider within the beliefs which existed within the former Soviet Union, and the brand new beliefs hadn’t been invented for them.

valerie hopkins

And there was additionally this actually main lack of nationwide delight that I feel lots of people low cost.

archived recording

They don’t consider of their future. They don’t—

valerie hopkins

So I feel that many individuals, particularly within the West, noticed this second as Russia’s probability to create democratic establishments.

archived recording

To reside in Moscow right now is to observe the soul of a metropolis die.

valerie hopkins

However many Russians related this era within the ‘90s with instability, financial concern, and this rampant capitalism that didn’t actually assist them.

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sabrina tavernise

Proper. I do not forget that time, as a result of I used to be there then. I began in 1994 in Russia, and I bear in mind we noticed the collapse of the Soviet Union as an opportunity to be free, a beautiful factor. And I feel that by the tip of the Nineties, many Russians had skilled it as a tragedy.

valerie hopkins

Yeah, I feel we’ve to acknowledge that that wasn’t folks’s precedence again then. It was placing meals on the desk, and never getting mugged by hooligans on the street, and having the ability to belief the police and the regulation enforcement and the establishments once more. And thru all of this, the non-public and nationwide disgrace and problem—

archived recording

In Russia right now, the clear winner of the Russian presidential election, Vladimir Putin, started to determine the Putin period.

valerie hopkins

Into that scenario walks Vladimir V. Putin.

archived recording (vladimir putin)

[SPEAKING RUSSIAN]

archived recording

Vladimir Putin, the profession spy, talks about establishing what he calls a dictatorship of the regulation. Battle corrupt bureaucrats and strengthen the central authorities.

valerie hopkins

Promising to take management and simply promising stability, which is what folks craved essentially the most.

archived recording

15 years after the autumn of the Soviet Union, Moscow is now a 24-hour city.

valerie hopkins

The financial system began to stabilize and a center class really emerged that was considerably higher off within the years after Putin got here to energy.

archived recording

The streets pulse with the large cash that was as soon as thought of a capitalist abomination. It’s largely opportunistic wealth that Russia has loved because the nation’s oil began promoting on world markets for $45 a barrel.

valerie hopkins

He bought massively fortunate with oil costs, and that type of allowed the usual of dwelling to rise and cemented the belief that many peculiar Russians had been dwelling higher below Putin than they ever had earlier than.

archived recording

President Putin right now criticized the best way many non-public businessmen, generally known as oligarchs, had purchased state properties at discount costs after the breakup of the Soviet Union—

valerie hopkins

And despatched inequality hovering.

archived recording (vladimir putin)

[SPEAKING RUSSIAN]

archived recording (interpreter)

You already know very properly what privatization was like within the early Nineties. At the moment, some market individuals bought multibillion-dollar state property utilizing totally different tips—

valerie hopkins

And Putin continues to exert ever extra management over Russian society.

archived recording

—deny that the Kremlin controls essentially the most highly effective information broadcasts on the three fundamental tv networks.

valerie hopkins

He begins to carry the nationwide media to heel, to make it possible for issues that he doesn’t like or criticism of him don’t seem within the media.

archived recording

Russia’s solely impartial media proprietor was formally charged right now with embezzling state funds. His media shops are identified for criticizing the federal government.

valerie hopkins

And whereas some folks had been involved, roughly, from the start of his rise, nearly all of the folks actually accepted it.

archived recording

Vladimir Putin is in style at dwelling due to the financial system primarily based on power.

—Vladimir Putin stays simply the preferred politician throughout this huge nation.

sabrina tavernise

Proper. I imply, that is the social contract that Putin made. He stated to the Russian folks, I’m going to carry you order. I’m going to crack down on the oligarchs. I’m going to make it in order that your life is steady, your wage is dependable. However on the identical time, you’re not going to mess with politics, and also you’re going to be OK with a media that’s not free.

valerie hopkins

Precisely. And whereas Putin largely consolidated his energy over the past twenty years, he did go away some pockets— principally on-line media, some radio— areas the place individuals who didn’t assist the federal government, who had been free-thinking and independent-minded may air their views and listen to individuals who principally thought like them. You already know, it wasn’t mainstream nationwide information on the airwaves, however you possibly can discover it should you appeared for it.

sabrina tavernise

So carry us as much as the battle, Valerie. I imply, if Putin has been doing this for years, chipping away at impartial media, what’s totally different now?

valerie hopkins

Nicely, now, it’s not chipping anymore. It’s a sledgehammer.

He’s been attempting very exhausting to regulate the narrative across the battle—

archived recording (vladimir putin)

[SPEAKING RUSSIAN]

valerie hopkins

—which he refers to solely as a, quote, “particular army operation.”

archived recording

That’s why most Russians don’t know what’s actually taking place in Ukraine. The Kremlin right now—

valerie hopkins

And a lot of the official communications about it don’t even point out the Russian army.

archived recording

The state censorship workplace has now blocked the BBC Russian language service. That could be a enormous supply of impartial information right here.

valerie hopkins

The state orders a few of the few remaining impartial media in Russia to cease broadcasting, together with the BBC’s Russian service, and the German broadcaster, Deutsche Welle. After which, it bans Fb, and on the identical day—

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archived recording

[SPEAKING RUSSIAN]

valerie hopkins

—the decrease home of parliament, the State Duma, approves a regulation forbidding the invasion from being known as something moreover a particular army operation.

archived recording

Merely calling it a battle or an invasion, as an alternative of a particular army operation, can result in as much as 15 years behind bars.

valerie hopkins

And it primarily criminalizes impartial reporting on the battle.

archived recording

Workers at certainly one of Russia’s most distinguished impartial tv stations have resigned, reside on air.

valerie hopkins

And due to this regulation, the few remaining media shops left in Russia are being pressured to make actually exhausting choices.

speaker

Vladimir Putin and the authorities, they only don’t need free media. This voice of reality have to be destroyed.

valerie hopkins

Which implies that proper now, there’s just one model of occasions that Russians are seeing of their nation— Putin’s.

sabrina tavernise

It is a essentially totally different degree of censorship. It’s one thing we haven’t seen since Soviet instances.

valerie hopkins

That’s proper, Sabrina. And whereas it’s not clear simply how lengthy Putin can maintain his makes an attempt to seal off Russians’ entry to details about the battle, for now, he’s been capable of dramatically form their beliefs.

misha katsurin

I’m not indignant about my father. I’m indignant about Kremlin. I’m indignant in regards to the Russian propaganda. I’m not indignant about these folks. I perceive that I can’t blame them on this scenario.

valerie hopkins

And that’s pressured folks like Misha to attempt to persuade his dad of the brutal reality of what’s taking place in Ukraine.

valerie hopkins

What do you assume it’s psychologically that forestalls him from— I imply, after all there’s this media, however you’re additionally his son, and also you’re telling him the reality, and he doesn’t wish to consider it? It’s too painful? It’s too unhappy?

misha katsurin

I feel he gained’t. I feel he gained’t. He can’t.

That’s the ability of this propaganda. He gained’t. He loves me, and he’s actually scared, and he advised that his coronary heart is bleeding. And that’s very painful.

And that’s why we have to be extra sensible, and we have to be calm and clarify and clarify and clarify, 3 times or 5 instances, or 20 instances, as extra as we’d like.

sabrina tavernise

Valerie, thanks.

valerie hopkins

Thanks, Sabrina.

sabrina tavernise

On Monday, the Related Press reported that one of many pregnant ladies photographed in final week’s assault by Russia on a maternity hospital within the metropolis of Mariupol has died. Her child was delivered however died, too. The assault and Russia’s response to it’s an instance of Russia presenting an alternate actuality within the face of information in regards to the battle.

After the bombing, Russia’s protection ministry denied having finished it, accusing Ukraine of a, quote, “staged provocation.” Then Russia started to criticize the response with its overseas minister, Sergei Lavrov, calling the worldwide response to the bombing, quote, “pathetic,” and that world public opinion had been, quote, “manipulated.”

archived recording (lavrov by way of interpreter)

It’s not the primary time we see pathetic outcries in regards to the so-called atrocities. You could possibly draw your personal conclusions as to how the general public opinion is manipulated worldwide.

sabrina tavernise

Lastly, Russia’s embassy in London tweeted images of one of many ladies and claimed that she was a disaster actor who had performed a number of of the ladies photographed within the instant aftermath of the assault. Twitter ultimately eliminated the publish.

We’ll be proper again.

Right here’s what else you must know right now.

On Sunday, Russia attacked a Ukrainian army base 12 miles from Ukraine’s border with Poland, bringing the battle dangerously near NATO’s doorstep. The goal was a base used to coach overseas fighters who flocked to Ukraine to assist defend the nation in opposition to Russia.

The missile assault killed no less than 35 folks and wounded no less than 134. In the meantime, the dying rely has risen sharply within the metropolis of Mariupol, which has been encircled and bombed by Russian troops and has been with out energy, water, or cellphone connection for greater than 10 days.

Up to now, metropolis officers stated, the Russian assaults have killed 2,187 residents. Lastly, Russian forces have kidnapped a second Ukrainian mayor in what seems to be a technique of eradicating native officers and changing them with Russian puppets. The kidnapping of the mayor from the city of Dniprorudne follows the dramatic seize of the mayor of Melitopol, who was reportedly taken from a authorities constructing with a bag over his head.

archived recording

[NON-ENGLISH SPEECH]

sabrina tavernise

In a video message, the mayor’s substitute, a Russian appointee, instructed the residents of Melitopol, to regulate to, quote, “the brand new actuality,” and to finish their resistance to Russian occupation.

archived recording

[NON-ENGLISH SPEECH]

sabrina tavernise

In the present day’s episode was produced by Asthaa Chaturvedi, Diana Nguyen and Kaitlin Roberts, with assist from Rob Szypko and Michael Simon Johnson. It was edited by Marc Georges and Lisa Chow, comprises unique music by Marion Lozano and was engineered by Chris Wooden. Our theme music is by Jim Brunberg and Ben Landsverk of Wonderly.

That’s it for The Every day. I’m Sabrina Tavernise. See you tomorrow.

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