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05 April 2023

New book explores Russian support for the invasion of Ukraine

Dr Jade McGlynn, Researcher in the Department of War Studies, launched her recently published book 'Russia's War' at King's. The book provides new insights into Russian attitudes towards and perceptions of the invasion of Ukraine.

Russias War 2

Through media analysis and interviews, Dr McGlynn examines the attitudes of different groups in Russia to uncover the reasons behind consent for the invasion of Ukraine and the factors contributing to the support and popularity of Vladimir Putin.

In exploring why Russian propaganda has resonated with many citizens, she delves into the country's mythologised past and unpacks the underpinnings of Russian patriotism and denigratory attitudes towards Ukrainians.

"It's crucial to acknowledge that we have unsympathetic and divisive discourse in our media [...] The book explores the need for belonging to a group and the issue of Russian understanding of Ukraine, as Russian identity is based on the ability to subjugate Ukraine. So, my argument is that the Russian war on Ukraine can't be solved in Ukraine because the problem lies in Russia's social and political imagination of itself. Further discussions on policy and solutions need to accept this premise as a starting point"

Dr Jade McGlynn

Dr Natasha Kuhrt, Senior Lecturer at War Studies, spoke at the launch event and highlighted the importance of the book as an opportunity to discuss the Ukraine invasion from different perspectives.    

"This book provides a unique insight into domestic Russian opinion on the war. But it also shows the limits for outsiders trying to understand Russian perceptions. It's important as a book for a more general reader informed by deep knowledge and understanding of Russia. McGlynn shows how ultimately it is Russia that must look deep inside itself and its past in order to confront and come to terms with its own unexamined past"

Dr Natasha Kuhrt

Professor Gulnaz Sharafutdinova, Director of King's Russia Institute, joined the panel discussion and pointed out the need for differentiation when discussing Russian perspectives on the invasion. "When we think about Russia's war, Russian collective identity is often reduced to a homogenous and undifferentiated mass, which is not an accurate representation of any society”, she highlighted.

She also discussed Russian propaganda in light of the spectrum of allies model, the idea that the population will range in their allegiance to Putin — from the most dedicated opponents to those who are the most active supporters — and that this basis may dictate propaganda and repressive tools used by the Kremlin.

“The spectrum of allies provides a means of differentiation and opens up the possibility of the Kremlin propaganda machine nudging different groups with varying opinion levels in subtle ways. […] The book is a really good addition to this discussion as it presents an innovative hypothesis that needs quantitative testing of the impacts of different messages on various audiences, which could contribute to political science beyond studying Russia"

Professor Gulnaz Sharafutdinova.

The forthcoming book by Dr McGlynn, "Memory Makers: The Politics of the Past in Putin's Russia", will be launched at King's on 12 June. Registration here.   

Dr Natasha Kuhrt, Professor Gulnaz Sharafutdinova, Dr Jade McGlynn, Dr Mariia Zolkina, and Dr Victoria Hudson.
Dr Natasha Kuhrt, Professor Gulnaz Sharafutdinova, Dr Jade McGlynn, Dr Mariia Zolkina, and Dr Victoria Hudson.

In this story

Natasha Kuhrt

Senior Lecturer in International Peace & Security

Jade McGlynn

Leverhulme Early Career Post-Doctoral Fellow

Gulnaz Sharafutdinova

Professor of Russian Politics and Director of King's Russia Institute