Why talk about the war in Ukraine is not cheap

Since the invasion of Ukraine started, I’ve taken it for granted that the vast majority of Westerners understood the situation. Sure, you had your Tucker Carlsons and Marjorie Taylor Greenes, but there was no need to convey basic facts about the war to Westerners. Talk is cheap, I thought.

This article from the Economist last week was a much-needed wake-up call. According to a poll of Americans between March 19–22, only 56% of those aged 18–29 sympathized more with Ukraine than with Russia. Only about half of these young people cared who won the war and less than half said Russia was targeting civilians deliberately (even though this was abundantly clear during the time the poll was conducted). The support for Ukraine was much higher among those 65 and older. Similar (but smaller) generational gaps exist in France and Britain, according to the article.

I don’t think younger people are dumber or less compassionate or fundamentally more sympathetic toward Putin’s regime than the older generation. The most reasonable interpretation of the numbers above is that young people are not systematically informed about what’s going on. Perhaps the atrocities committed by Russian troops in Ukraine that are coming to light now will shift public opinion on their own. But we know that young people don’t follow news nearly as close as older ones. So we need to take it upon ourselves to reach them.

How does one inform others? Here are some concrete suggestions:

  1. Make sure that you are informed and stay informed. Obviously you can’t convey what you don’t know. Some concrete suggestions of how to that are here.

Originally published at https://deryugina.com on April 5, 2022.



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