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Opinion | Putin Is ‘High Off His Own Propaganda Supply’

This week, an antiwar protester interrupted a Moscow broadcast with a sign in Russian reading: “Stop the war. Don’t believe the propaganda. They are lying to you here.” With the Russian government promoting propaganda on news channels and most recently passing a law to punish people spreading “false information” about the Ukraine invasion, it’s been hard to distill what is actually going on in both Russia and Ukraine right now. The confusion has resulted in what Masha Gessen recently described as parallel realities transpiring in Russia and an outright denial of war in Ukraine.

So how can you make sense of what is true in our world of information, especially when anyone can use propaganda not only to change your mind but also to overwhelm you?

[You can listen to this episode of “The Argument” on Apple, Spotify or Google or wherever you get your podcasts.]

Jane Coaston talks to the Soviet-born British journalist Peter Pomerantsev to talk about propaganda and how those in power — and the everyday person — use it to undermine the fabric of society and our collective understanding. Pomerantsev is a senior fellow at Johns Hopkins University and the author of the 2019 book “This Is Not Propaganda.” He talks to Jane about Vladimir Putin’s mythmaking and propaganda machine and how we as information consumers can make sense of what we know as truth.

(A full transcript of the episode will be available midday on the Times website.)

Thoughts? Email us at argument@nytimes.com or leave us a voice mail message at (347) 915-4324. We want to hear what you’re arguing about with your family, your friends and your frenemies. (We may use excerpts from your message in a future episode.)

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“The Argument” is produced by Phoebe Lett, Elisa Gutierrez and Vishakha Darbha and edited by Anabel Bacon and Alison Bruzek; fact-checking by Mary Marge Locker and Kate Sinclair; music and sound design by Isaac Jones; mixing by Pat McCusker; and audience strategy by Shannon Busta. Our executive producer is Irene Noguchi. Special thanks to Kristina Samulewski.

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