Putin, however, perceives that he himself is the single legitimate representative of Russia. His key officials share the same feeling: “There is no Russia today if there is no Putin,” said Vyacheslav Volodin, head of the lower house of Russia’s parliament.
Why the Soviet Union collapsed
What he said: “Russia even agreed voluntarily and proactively to the collapse of the Soviet Union. … After all, the collapse of the Soviet Union was effectively initiated by the Russian leadership.”
Why he’s wrong: Ex-Russian President Boris Yeltsin was one of three signatories to the Belovezha Accords in December 1991, which declared the USSR’s dissolution. But the collapse of the USSR was primarily due to internal political and economic struggles, with several Soviet republics declaring independence against Moscow’s wishes.
Who has the more powerful propaganda
What he said: “In the war of propaganda, it is very difficult to defeat the United States because the United States controls all the world’s media and many European media. The ultimate beneficiaries of the biggest European media are American financial institutions.”
Why he’s wrong: The biggest news media companies are privately owned and operate without direct government control, in contrast to the state-controlled media landscape in Russia. Russian state TV and the primary news agencies there are the property of the government, and the Kremlin controls other media or destroys those not willing to collaborate.
In 2023, Russian authorities threw 28 reporters behind bars, according to Reporters Without Borders. Among them were two American citizens: Wall Street Journal correspondent Evan Gershkovich, accused of espionage; and Russian-American journalist Alsu Kurmasheva, working for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, accused of failing to register as a “foreign agent.”