NEW! tRUe Crime Podcast: What’s Wrong With Russian Oppositionists?

Our podcast is dedicated to tackling russian hybrid threats and the tools of influence russian propaganda employs.
Produced by Hybrid Warfare Analysis Group (team of Ukrainian Crisis Media Center)

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In the first episode of our podcast #tRUecrime we discuss prominent Russian oppositionists and their ideologies.

Maxim Katz, a self-proclaimed liberal and member of the Russian opposition, rose to prominence through his popular political YouTube channel. However, his statements frequently demonstrate contradictions and a lack of empathy for Ukraine. He dismissed the Russian opposition as owing nothing to Ukrainians, demonstrating a disregard for the victims of aggression. Katz also uses whataboutism to shift blame and equate the actions of both parties. By absolving himself and Russians of guilt and defending Russian sovereignty, he creates the appearance of being a member of the opposition while advocating for a “natural regime change.”

Leonid Volkov, a close associate of Alexei Navalny and a vocal critic of Putin’s regime, emphasises individual responsibility, absolving Russians of blame and blaming Putin and the Russian military. He conflates victim and aggressor, accusing Ukraine of war crimes while downplaying evidence of Russian troop involvement. Volkov’s position on Crimea differs from that of the Russian opposition, as he advocates for a new political framework separate from both Russia and Ukraine, and opposes the return of Crimea to Ukraine.

Ilya Varlamov, best known for his urban blogging, has attempted to play a political role in Russia’s opposition. Varlamov’s statements, while popular among Ukrainian viewers, frequently create an artificial closeness between Russia and Ukraine. He downplays the economic impact of Crimea’s annexation and justifies it by claiming to understand the local population’s mood. His stance on Crimea is similar to that of Russian prosecutors, who claim that “Crimea is ours.” Varlamov’s inconsistency and alignment with certain aspects of Russian propaganda call into question his true oppositionist stance.

Watch this episode and better arm yourself against Russian propaganda of all types.