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The Information War Between Putin and Zelensky

¿Quién va venciendo en la guerra de narrativas entre Putin y Zelenski?

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“Russia vs. Ukraine” or “Putin vs. Zelensky” occupy the front pages of all newspapers and content social media. The reason is quite clear: a war unleashed in Ukraine.

This war also has a quite clear culprit: Putin, who started a unilateral invasion, with the supposed intention of “pacifying,” yes, that’s what he said “pacifying,” the Ukrainian separatist regions of Donetsk and Luhansk.

However, Putin—far from pacifying—started a war. In an act of absolute incoherence, he sent his army to invade the capital and other regions, making his talking points even more absurd. The real purpose of his invasion was to overthrow the duly elected Ukrainian government on the first day of incursion.

I feel rather silly for having to be clarifying this, but I’m just amazed at how many people are spreading the narrative that Ukraine and the U.S. started the war, and that Putin is a saintly avenger who is fighting the forces of some New World Order.

Surprisingly, where the Putinesque narrative has caught on most is among a spectrum of the conservative population, who claim that Putin is fighting against Zelensky’s progressivism. Interestingly, the Russian has found echo chambers of his talking points in conservative Americans. Perhaps Europe has been the most united in its repudiation of Putin, but on the other side of the world, his disinformation has managed to capture followers.

Let it be clear that, personally, I would not support the domestic politics of Zelensky if I had the opportunity to vote for someone like him. His ideas do not appeal to me, and he is backed by political and economic groups that I completely disagree with. However, this is not about whether I like Zelensky’s policies or not: it is about sovereignty, respect for the international order, and of course, freedoms.

Zelensky is a democratically elected president, something Putin cannot boast about. On top of that, despite having the possibility to flee when the second military power started its aggression, he decided to stay and fight with his people, something really inspiring.

If we value freedom and human rights, we can never be on the side of the aggressor. Putin has been a spy and a bully for as long as anyone can remember. He invaded Ukraine without a valid pretext, and we must not forget that for decades he has been supporting and financing the tyrannies of Latin America.

If today we Venezuelans are still under the tyrannical regime of Nicolás Maduro, it is in large part thanks to the military, economic and diplomatic support that Vladimir Putin himself has given to Chavismo during the last decades.

That is why, without hesitation, I am with Ukraine, and you should be too. Megalomaniac oppressors like Putin or Xi Jinping know no limits and are overflowing with ambition. Today, it was the Ukrainians’ turn to receive the Russian Army and face the threat of a new colonization attempt, but I assure you that if Putin succeeds, tomorrow it will be Taiwan’s turn to defend itself against China’s attacks. If both leaders manage to emerge victoriously, World War III will break out, or probably in a couple of decades we will all end up speaking Mandarin or Russian.

Emmanuel Rincón is a lawyer, writer, novelist and essayist. He has won several international literary awards. He is Editor-at-large at El American // Emmanuel Rincón es abogado, escritor, novelista y ensayista. Ganador de diversos premios literarios internacionales. Es editor-at-large en El American

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