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  • Writer's picturePeter Pomerantsev

Russia’s Genocidal Propaganda Must Not be Passed off as Freedom of Speech

As cases of war crimes pile up against Russia, can peddlers of hate be held to account?

Illustration: Dominic McKenzie/The Observer

For years, and especially since the invasion of 24 February, Russian state media has been calling to wipe Ukraine off the map, for killing Ukrainians en masse, and dehumanising its people, smearing them as “Nazis” who need to be “denazified”.

As the cases of war crimes, crimes against humanity, crimes of aggression and genocide pile up against the Russian leadership and military, is there a way to hold members of the propaganda machine accountable as well? Are they protected by freedom of speech or is their role qualitatively different: not mere trumpeters of abhorrent opinion but facilitators of crimes? And what does it mean for other cases across the world: from Donald Trump using Twitter to (allegedly) egg on the rioters at the US Capitol on 6 January, to the Myanmar online peddlers of hate encouraging persecution of the Rohingya?

Read the full story in the Guardian here.


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