Ian Garner and Jade McGlynn on Public Support for the War in Russia

10 May 2023 – 19:00 - 20:30 BST
Pushkin House (in person and online)
5a Bloomsbury Square

Pushkin House is hosting a conversation between Ian Garner and Jade McGlynn, who have both just published new books explaining how Vladimir Putin won Russians’ support for his genocidal war in Ukraine.

Z Generation: Into the Heart of Russia’s Fascist Youth by Ian Garner examines how reactionary and revisionist rhetoric began dominating public discourse in Russia and how Vladimir Putin managed to win public support for the war in Ukraine. A significant role is played by militarist youth movements that mimic the institutions of totalitarian regimes of the past and try to develop an ideological continuity between generations. Garner presents in-depth stories from the personal and social media lives of the diverse spectrum of social groups, from nationalist crowds to marginalised communities, including ethnic minorities, LGBTQ+ youth, and activists, who are being driven away and apart by the state.

In Russia’s War, Jade McGlynn analyses the alternative reality created by the Russian state and pro-Kremlin actors as well as explaining how and why these narratives appeal to and convince different groups in Russian society. Drawing on nine years of research into Russian propaganda on Ukraine, McGlynn combines this expertise with large-scale analysis of Telegram channels and state-aligned media as well as interviews with regular citizens, officials and foreign policy elites in Russia and Ukraine.

She argues that Russia’s war, which began in 2014, is far too complex to be pinned on one man alone and doing so will lead to errors in policy making. Many Russians have invested too deeply in the Kremlin’s narratives to regard the war as Putin’s foolhardy mission. For them this is Russia’s war – against Ukraine, against the West, and against evil.

About the speakers

Dr Ian Garner‘s research focuses on Soviet and Russian war propaganda. The author of Stalingrad Lives: Stories of Combat and Survival (McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2023) and Z Generation: Into the Heart of Russia’s Fascist Youth (Hurst Publishers, 2023), he studied at the Universities of Bristol and Toronto and at the St Petersburg State Conservatory. He has written and been interviewed for The Washington PostRolling StoneThe New York TimesThe GuardianThe Globe and Mail, BBC, CBC, ABC, Vice News, Times Radio and elsewhere.

Dr Jade McGlynn is a Research Fellow at the Department of War Studies, King’s College London and a non-resident senior researcher at CSIS. She is the author of two books, Russia’s War (Polity, 2023) and Memory Makers: The Politics of the Past in Putin’s Russia (Bloomsbury, 2023), as well as numerous academic and journalistic texts. Her research focusses on Russia’s war in Ukraine since 2014, the politics of memory, propaganda and state-society relations in Russia. She holds a DPhil from the University of Oxford, where she worked as a lecturer in Russian. Jade has held academic positions and research fellowships at Middlebury College and Voronezh State University.

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