Putin’s Russia

LONDON — IMAGINE if you grew up lying. Not a little bit, for convenience, but during every public moment of your life: at school, at work, at social events. You had to lie to survive, because the punishment for telling the truth was the loss of your academic or professional career, or even prison. For Russians who came of age before 1991, this is the only way they know. The mature generation grew up with this behavior during the later years of the Soviet Union: reading Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn and listening to clandestine BBC reports in private while pretending to be good Communist Youth League or party members.

Peter Pomerantsev, a British television producer, is the author of “Nothing Is True and Everything Is Possible: The Surreal Heart of the New Russia.”

(See Russia’s Ideology: There is No Truth.)

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