Russia: How to talk to loved ones who believe the propaganda?



October 6, 2022

‘No, Mom, there are no secret Nazi biolaboratories in Ukraine!’ Speaking to parents, grandmothers and other loved ones, many of us feel like we are hitting a deaf wall now more than ever. Any attempt to get the word out about what is happening and why Russia started the war in Ukraine is shattered by arguments from TV about NATO, Nazis, bio-laboratories and the fact that the Ukrainian government are puppets of the West. Even when the seed of doubt is planted, it is not uncommon for the next conversation to be reversed: it is difficult to compete with a television set that broadcasts propaganda 24/7. Whether or not to work against propaganda in your own family is everyone's choice, but today we want to share some tips for those who don't give up after all. BRIDGE Bot ( BRIDGE is a bot that helps you build a dialogue with your loved one by questioning the inviolability of propaganda talking points. This bot was developed by Hyde Relocation Volunteers with experience in re-educating loved ones, while psychologists, sociologists and journalists added scientific background. BRIDGE offers a three-step scheme. Example: the thesis "The goal of the West is to weaken, divide and destroy Russia". 1. A bridging phrase that helps the interlocutor feel that you understand his or her position and are on the same side: "Sounds scary". 2. Argument against the thesis: "Only I, to be honest, haven't seen any Western speeches in which they mention such goals. Please tell me about it". 3. A leading question that helps to trigger critical thinking after the interlocutor no longer thinks you are hostile: “How are they planning to weaken us? What exactly are they planning to do?” See examples of conversation schemes on other topics at the link ( in the bot. Infofield for one viewer: how to convey information to loved ones who are not ready to talk A FAS volunteer told us about this way of showing real news and war information to loved ones via instagram: “I want to share another gentle way of getting information to loved ones who are in denial or react aggressively to attempts at direct conversation. “This method was suggested to me by a dear friend who has been trying to get back on the same side as her mother since February. “Tired of the quarrels that ended all conversations about the war, my friend added her mother - and only her - to her list of close friends on Instagram. And then she started posting stuff there (FAS, Cholod, Doxa, Important Stories, etc. to a one-person audience. The mum doesn't miss any of the stories, gets alternative information selected by her daughter, but doesn't feel personally attacked - and therefore doesn't get defensive or turned off. “I borrowed this idea after 9/11: I added school/university friends and other guys I know in Russia to my inner circle–and I'm posting escape instructions for them. They watch and seem to receiveit better than in person. There are even a few likes and thanks!”