Ross: UW experts show how ‘everyone can participate’ in spreading truth about Ukraine

Feb 25, 2022, 6:34 AM | Updated: 9:17 am


(Getty Images)

(Getty Images)

Based on what I’ve read, the Ukrainian Army has a tough fight on its hands — maybe impossible.

UW Russia expert: Ukraine could be worst war in Europe since 1945

Russian President Vladimir Putin is moving fast, and our sanctions, by President Biden’s own admission, could take months to have an effect. But there may be another pressure point.

At the University of Washington, Professor Scott Radnitz teaches Russian studies and also monitors Russian social media, noting that despite Putin’s control of the internet, Russians have found ways to keep themselves plugged in.

“Russians have smartphones,” Radnitz pointed out. “Many, many Russians are online, and he will not be able to keep what he is doing in Ukraine — the truth will get into the country one way or another.”

Radnitz’s colleague, Professor Jevin West, at the UW’s Center for an Informed Public, says Americans can play a part in spreading that truth as well.

“Everyone actually can participate,” West said. “It may be just vetting one article and making sure that gets shared by friends or colleagues that know others in Russia or Ukraine — in the world we’re living in, you can contribute to this.”

As for how the three million Russians living in the United States who are still linked with their home country could play a part in this, West sees an opportunity.

“I absolutely think that those three million people that know Russian and know the Russian culture can make those connections, and those things can spread,” West posited. “Those three million people could make a contribution, absolutely.”

Conceivably, you could even communicate directly with soldiers. Would that get the tanks to suddenly turn around? That might be a stretch. But it happened once before 30 years ago, and I know this town is full of social media influencers. So, consider it your next challenge.

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Ross: UW experts show how ‘everyone can participate’ in spreading truth about Ukraine