The Truth about Lies: Discussion with a Russian

Albert Denmark
18 min readApr 20, 2022

I’ve been talking to some Russians (who live in Russia) about the war. It is very striking how much or how less they know. Of course, I am not talking to all Russians — in fact, I am not even talking to 0.0001% of the Russians, so this is far from a reliable representation of the Russian people. However, I’d like to reproduce some of the words, I’ve been exchanging with one of the people, I am talking to. Before I start, I’d like to tell you, that this person is acting as a chairman or spokesman or secretary, or something like that, of a chess club somewhere in Russia. We communicate in writing, and he seems to master the English language very well.

When I first connected to him, I simply asked him how life is nowadays in Russia. That was about three weeks after the invasion. I asked him about the (then) quickly falling exchange rates of the Ruble, and if everything is allright.

From here, I simply will post the conversation (so far).

Him:
It is not so well. Devaluating of the rubel (currency) is about 20%. Toyita, Renault, CocaCola and many other companies are stay here.

Me:
Strange, why does the rubel devaluate so suddenly? Heard that Renault has decided as of today to suspend all activities in Russia too. Coca cola said two weeks ago they would. What’s going on?

Him:
Words and business are different things. In our supermarkets i see full shelves of botles with Coca Cola and Pepsi.

Me:
Ok that is good. Hope the best for the Russians.

Him:
Thanks. Now few people in Europe sympathize with Russia in its confrontation with the United States.

Me:
I don’t know what to believe. I don’t take the news from Europe as truth by default, but I see differences in the Russian and the European news

(Note: But I surely do not count any word in the Russian Kremlin-controlled media for true)

Him:
One piece of news is beyond doubt: Russia has refused to sell gas for dollars. We will also soon start selling oil and grain only for rubles. This means the imminent end of the dollar’s dominance in the world.

Me:
Yes i heard that too. Seems to me that is a good idea. Do you also read the european news?

(Note: I do agree it could be a good idea if the dollar’s dominance might end, but I don’t want to be the Ruble to be dominant. Not that I am afraid of that)

Me:
The danish prime minister said today they wont pay in rubel. Don’t know why. Plus she said they will stop import of russian gas, they made a deal with norway

(Note: I do know, why I wouldn’t pay in Rubles, but the exact reason, the Danish Prime Minister said it, isn’t shared with me. For her, there is much more at stake, so she might have several reasons. And about that deal with Norway: I am not sure if that is sufficient and if the deal still stands).

Him:
Yes. I can see Euronews in Russian on Youtube. But they suffer from incompleteness and inaccuracy of information.

Me:
I don’t know them. I am always critical, by nature. But that goes both ways. I don’t believe Joe Biden and neither Putin. Do you?

(Note: The reason why the American President sometimes hides (parts of) the truth, is because not all information is meant to shared with everyone: if Barack Obama told the Americans, he was going to watch the Navy SEALS to kill Osama bin Laden, I guess the latter one had fled immediately.
The reason Putin lies is because lies are one of the most important pillars in his reign)

Him:
Putin has no need to exterminate the Ukrainian people. The invasion of Ukraine is a fight against Ukrainian Nazism, with the prevention of the use of its territory for nuclear strikes against Russia. I believe Putin.

Me:
Actually, I am not sure if Biden or Putin do exist in the form either Western or Russian media pretend. Sure, both guys exist, why won’t they, but do they in reality have something to say? And what about Zelenskyy, is he the real deal? According to Europe, he is. But what if he is just a puppet like Biden and Putin? The puppet master says Zelenskyy is a jew, how can Ukraine be led by nazists? I don’t understand anything of it.

(Note: OK, I admit: here I am fiddling with his mind. One thing is for sure: Putin is not a puppet. Zelenskyy either, but he and Biden are bound to some ground rules that are not designed by themselves)

Me:
Do you read CNN?

Him:
Any leader of the state is an expression of the interests of some elites. Zelensky is an exponent of the interests of the American elites behind Biden. Putin is an exponent of the interests of Russian elites. The Nazi battalions supporting Zelensky’s government are instilling an extremely Russophobic ideology and fighting every manifestation of dissent.

I don’t watch CNN.

Me:
I don’t watch CNN either. Simply because I cannot control them. But I hear about a Russian invasion in Ukraine, and suddenly there are tenthousands of Ukrainian people in Denmark, without properly traveling equipment or clothes. Only women and children, because, they say, their husbands and sons fight against the Russians. And that I don’t undersrand, since I thought Ukrainian and Russian people were one? So why would they fight? In the sports hall in my city, there are arranged field beds for threehundred Ukrainians. I haven’t asked them about nazists, maybe I should

(Note: I don’t watch CNN, nor read their website. At least not on a regular basis. But that is certainly not because I can’t control them. So here I am: lying. But he bought it, just like he buys all the other lies (from Russia), too. I also lied about “the sports hall in my city”. There are no Ukrainians in the little hall here in my town. So perhaps: he got a point, that my knowledge is based on what I read and hear from the press in Denmark. Still, I do believe most of what the press is bringing here, because many of their information can be fact checked and approved by me personally).

Me:
https://novayagazeta.ru/articles/2022/03/28/my-priostanavlivaem-rabotu Do you consider Novaya Gazeta as a medium that can be trusted?

Him:
Nazism in Ukraine is a complex topic. American propaganda has turned nationalist sentiments into Russophobia. The political regime in Ukraine is a democratic facade in the form of a parliament and fascist methods based on terror to combat the manifestation of any dissent, including the manifestation of sympathy for Russia.

Him:
Yes, Novaya Gazeta, which does not share state policy, announced the suspension of its activities until the end of the special operation in Ukraine. The formal reason was the absence of marking “Foreign Agent” when mentioning one of the opposition mass media. I think that the introduction of censorship during the war is a common matter for most countries.

Me:
There is certainly no external, governmental censorship in Denmark. On the other hand, there are many, many news papers and media that censor themselves — and that makes I don’t believe them. There is no news paper at all in Denmark, that uncritical write what the government want, especially because there is a very huge opposition in Denmark, which is almost as big as the government, while the government exist of several parties with there own agendas.
I am aware of the American propaganda, and the tendency in Europe to copy this propaganda. However, in the 50’s and 60’s, and partly the 70’s of last Century, there was much more Russophobia than in the 80’s and 90’s: Gorbachev did great work in getting rid of the Russophobia in Europe, and in the United States. Then came Yeltsin, who wanted yet more transparency than Gorbachev, and there was almost no Russophobia in the late 1990’s. But then came Putin, and slowly the Russophobia came back.

In Ukraine, there is this guerrillia group, the Azov regiment, which is rather big. They belong to the Ukraine military, and they are Nazists. They were kept in the Army, because, if they would be expelled, they would go rogue, and turn against the government. So yes, they exist, and they are Nazists. But as they say: “Keep your friends close, keep your enemies closer”. And that is why the Ukrainian government keeps Azov inside the Army: so they can be controlled. Ofcourse, most of the news papers in Denmark, the rest of Europe and USA do not write about that. Not because governments don’t want to (the Danish Prime Minister talked about it actually in a live stream), and the non-governmental TV2 in Denmark reported it, but because many news papers are censoring themselves.

What could be the unofficial reason of Novaya Gazetas self-chosen suspension?

(Note: “Ofcourse, most of the news papers in Denmark, the rest of Europe and USA do not write about that.” But not because they don’t want or are censored to not to. Simply because they cannot write everything. And if you look for it, you’ll find much information about it.)

Him:
You correctly describe the history of Russophobia. Gorbachev and Yeltsin are now considered traitors to Russia’s interests. The reason for the hatred of Putin in the West is his course to get rid of dependence on the United States. Ukraine is under the external control of the Biden administration. For 30 years she was being prepared for an attack on Russia. A preemptive strike and invasion of Ukraine is now supported by 75% of the Russian population.

Novaya Gazeta was closed by the decision of the Board of Directors. The reason is the inability to spread information about the invasion of Ukraine in wartime conditions. For any fake, journalists were threatened with criminal prosecution. In Ukraine, military censorship works in a similar way.

Me:
I did not know that Yeltsin was considered a traitor, nowadays. Thank you for that information. I am sure there is censorship in Ukraine, too. But Ukrainians have free access to the Internet, which you don’t have, being a Russian citizen. And that is the difference.

(Note: ofcourse there is censorship in Ukraine. The country is at war: some information should not be free in this situation!)

Him:
There is currently no access to Russian TV channels in Ukraine and Europe, including Russia Today (RT). Ukrainians were deprived of access to the Russian-language social network VKontakte. Instagram and Facebook access has been disabled by the Russian authorities. But this is a small loss for me, since I hardly used them. In principle, censorship is everywhere.

Me:
I noticed, there is no access to Russian TV channels from Denmark, the normal way. Using a VPN, it is still possible, though. From Denmark, I have access to VKontakte, at least, I was able to log on a week ago.
I know that Facebook and Instagram are blocked — and that is what I mean: the Russians are not allowed to hear other sides of the story. But there is not one Truth. I am very sure, Putin is doing everything he does because he believes it’s the best of the country. So does Biden, so does Mette Frederiksen in Denmark, and so does Macron in France. I don’t agree with everything Mette Frederiksen says (not at all, actually), but she does what she thinks is best. Just like Putin. But Putin doesn’t want people to have their own opinion. Of course, 75% of the Russian population agrees with him: else they risk imprisonment. Just like Navalny.
I don’t idolize Navalny either. I don’t know if he is corrupt or not. If so, then ofcourse he violated his parole. But with good reason: the man was in the hospital in Germany! Would Putin be able to show up, while deadly sick in the hospital? And that is the whole problem: people have opinions they say out loud, and opinions they are quiet about — two different opinions, because they are not allowed to have their opinions. And thus, there is only one possibility: vote for Putin and accept everything he does.
Putin thinks people cannot decide for themselves, and that is the reason he keeps them oblivious.

Him:
Involvement in the affairs of Russia does you honor. Do you read texts written in Russian on VKontakte? The published statistics of trust in Putin are close to true. Among my friends and relatives, almost everyone supports his decision to invade Ukraine. After all, the purpose of this operation is to ensure the security of Russia.

As for the “poisoning” of Navalny, this is a very opaque story. German doctors did not send the results of his clinical tests to Russia. So it is still unclear whether he was poisoned, and if so, by what and under what circumstances.

Me:
I don’t speak Russian. However, I translate texts with Google Translate and double check with Deepl.com, so I read what people are writing on VKontakte.
I am sure you are right about the 75% of Russians who support Putin. And I am also convinced that that are what is published. But just like I do not simply believe what the western media write, I neither believe the statistics from Russia.
A wise man, called Storm P. said once: statistics are like a lampposts: they’re nice to lean against, but they only shine a light on a very little area. Besides: those, who publish statistics in the first place usually have a reason to broadcast the information from those statistics.
The Dutch politician Geert Wilders once got a Britisch consultancy company to investigate if Holland could return to their originally currency, the Dutch Guilder, in stead of Euro. Wilders advocated for returning to the Guilder in a long time, prior to the investigation. Then he came with the report from the Britains. Do you find it surprising that the report confirmed what Wilders said, keeping in mind that WIlders was the one who paid for the report and the investigation?

Originally, the “special military operation” was to liberate Ukrainians from the Nazis. Now, the “special military operation” is to ensure the security of Russia. NATO is a defense organization, not an offense organization. NATO never attacked anyone. If Russia has noble intentions, then there shouldn’t be anything wrong with the NATO. Just like I don’t care if I see a police car in my back mirror while driving my car: I don’t do anything wrong, I have nothing to fear.
But now that there are no Nazis in Ukraine, and Ukrainians obviously did not welcome the Russians, like the Russians were told, the story has to be changed into a “protection operation”. But Ukraine is owned by Ukraine, not by Russia, so Russia has nothing to do on Ukrainian soil. Sorry to say.

I lived once in a house in Holland. I didn’t own it, neither did my parents. They rented it. Later, I moved to Denmark. Now, other people are living in that house in Holland. Do I still have rights in that house? Can I kick in the door, drag the new tennants by their hair out of the house, ask some of my friends to live in it, giving the current tennants a little room without rights, and make anyone do like I say?

Navalny was poisoned, that’s a fact. What’s not a fact, is that Russia was behind the poisoning. The results of the clinical tests were delivered to the Russian ambassador in Germany. What happened then is unclear. Those clinical tests show that the poison that was used, was Novichok, a poison that is developed and stored by Russia. That surely does not mean that Russia is the only one who can get hold of Novichok, but it is at least a bit suspicious that Russia got the results but deny they got it.

(Note: Here I reject my own words. Earlier I told about the Azov Regiment, and now I am saying there are no Nazists in Ukraine. What I meant, and I guess my conversation partner understood, to say was: the Ukrainian government is not a Nazists government.)

Me:
Yesterday, Ukraine came with unconfirmed news, that the Ukrainian army should have been shooting at the flagship of the Russian Navy, the “Moscow”.
Today, Russia breaks the news: An accident happened, there was a fire on our flagship, which regrettibly sank”.
How could Ukraine know about that yesterday, if not the Ukrainians shot the ship to the bottom of the Black Sea?

Him:
The flagship “Moscow” is 40 years old. For what reason the ammunition detonated — no one really knows. A mine explosion is likely, which Ukraine has placed a lot in the Black Sea.

Me:
How could Ukraine know the ship would sink today if a) nobody knows what happened and b) they did not activily shot the ship?

Him:
There was no information on Russian social networks about the transfer of tests to the Bulk Soviet Embassy in Berlin. Navalny’s organization would definitely have reported that.

Me (you might notice I shifted gear!):
Or … the information was removed due to the fact it was inconvenient for the Russian government

Me:
They (navalny’s organization and others) did report it on media, Russia has no control over

Him:
I didn’t understand your question about ship. And I do not know how the government can delete a FaceBook post. Zuckerberg does not obey him.

Me:
Well, accounts can be overtaken … the kremlin controls all the media in Russia so they only tell what Putin wants the Russians to know. That’s why 75% of all Russians think Putin is doing great — they hear it all the time. But they don’t hear there’s a war going on, that Ukraine has been invaded, that Mariupol is bombed flat, that civilians are being shot, that 4 million ukrainian children and women has fled the country to save their lived, and especially not that the “operation” is failing big time. The guy that should replace Zelenskyy when Kyev was captured, has been captured himself, but Peskov just says that it’s a lie. 20.000 soldiers died in a operation that first was called “ an exercise”. Putin lies, my friend. I implore you to see reason. You are smart, you speak fluently English. Use your head and your courage, else you will never be free

Him:
Youtube is not controlled by Putin. We can receive information about a special military operation in Ukraine from a variety of channels. For example, I watch the Deutsche Welle channel.

Me:
No, but Google got large fines from Russia for not removing texts, that the Kremlin calls “lies”. And … data can still be filtered before it comes through the governmental firewall …

Him:
I do not know exactly how YouTube works. But I will tell you for sure: I can freely watch many official Ukrainian and Russian anti-Putin channels.

Me (yet another gear shift):
Sure … but as long as Putin and his brothers in crime keep portraying USA and Europe to be Russophobic, and at the same time lie about what is going on in Russia, many people will not see the full story. Believe me, there are many pro-Putin media here in Europe, too. Far from “all European” are against Putin and this bloody war. But as long as Putin declines to talk about “a war” and keep saying it’s “a military operation”, which is at least an understatement, people will think he is doing great.

But yes, he is doing great — in filling his own pockets and his friends’s pockets with lots of money.

Him:
The United States and Great Britain are certainly not friends of Russia. They are the main organizers of Russophobia in the world. Ukraine is the battlefield of Russia and the united West. Russia has remained the only defender of Christian values in the world.

Me:
Russophobia does not exist in the ordet the Russian government wants the Russians to think. You are right that UK and USA are not friends with Russia. Neither am I friends with any of my neighbours, but I have no phobic thoughts about them either. I do greet them when I meet them,but friends, no. That does not make us enemies. About Christian values: killing 20.000 soldiers, invading a country, betraying own people — is that Christian values? But perhaps you’re right, and is the rest of the world a-Christian. I was a Christian once, too. Not anymore. But thank you for explaining that this war is only because of religion, that explains a lot

Him:
Russophobia does not exist in the ordet the Russian government wants the Russians to think. You are right that UK and USA are not friends with Russia. Neither am I friends with any of my neighbours, but I have no phobic thoughts about them either. I do greet them when I meet them,but friends, no. That does not make us enemies. About Christian values: killing 20.000 soldiers, invading a country, betraying own people — is that Christian values? But perhaps you’re right, and is the rest of the world a-Christian. I was a Christian once, too. Not anymore. But thank you for explaining that this war is only because of religion, that explains a lot

Me:
Serbia is a total different situations: Croatians fought against Bosnians, together with Serbians, while somewhere else Serbians fought against Croations together with Bosnians, and at at third spot, Bosnians fought together with Croations — all parties in that war were fighting and attacking. Ukraine did not do anything against Russia but making advances toward NATO. If Russia had no intentions of being aggressive, then a NATO membership of Ukraine shouldn’t be a problem: NATO is a DEFENSE organization, not an OFFENSE organization. It doesn’t ATTACK, it DEFENDS.
Iraq: Bush made a very bad call, and seduced other countries on attacking Iraq. That was not his call — and USA got on diplomatic level a lot to pay for. If not for Obama, USA was still failing here.
Syria: Bashar al-Assad used chemical weapons, which is a clear violation of the Geneva Convention. The Security Council of the FN tried multiple times to stop al-Assad, but Russia repeatitively vetoed against it, causing al-Assad to continue. Not the other way around.

Besides: If two children in kindergarten are fighting, does that give other children the right to fight as well? Ofcourse not.
There is no way to justify a war against Ukraine!

And regarding the Azov batallion: yes, there is a very little group of Nazi-sympatisands in the Ukrainian army. If Ukraine expelled them from the army, then they would get rogue. Now, that batallion can be controlled and kept at armlength. “Keep your friends close, keep your enemies closer”.

Again: I implore you to see reason: there is nothing that justifies a war against Ukraine. The only thing, Putin wants, is to restore the Soviet Union.

Me:
By the way: how can Russia defend Christian values by defending al-Assad, who is a muslim?

Me:
I just read somewhere:
It’s expected that soldiers die in war. What’s not expected is for generals — not just one but two of them — to die in barely two weeks of what Russian military forces expected to be an easy victory over Ukraine.

That made me to think: The Russian government sold the situation in Ukraine to the Russian people as “a military operation” “to liberate Ukraine from Nazism” “the Ukrainians will welcome the Russian soldiers as heroes”. (and if you change “Ukraine” and it’s adjative “Ukrainians” to “Georgia” and “Georgians”, and the year from 2022 to 2008, the narrative is exact the same).
But … if this is a military operation to liberate Ukraine, how in the world can TWO Generals die within two weeks from each other?
Dear [name removed]. Putin lies! Lies are one of the pillars of the Russian government! Please open your eyes.

There are 142 million Russians. I am writing with one. If I were on a mission to throw Putin out, I’d really should think about how many Centuries it would take to talk to everyone. I see you as a very clever man. Clever, but blinded. Oblivious for what is really going on. Obliviated by czar Vladimir The Great.

Him:
Don’t tell me fairy tales that NATO is a defensive organization. How did it defend Europe in Afghanistan, Libya, Iraq? The US uses its European allies as vassals. NATO supplied the most advanced weapons to Ukraine so that this country would someday attack Russia. The documents found show that such an attack was supposed to take place at the end of February 2022. Neither Russia nor Ukraine declared war on each other, so a preemptive strike is the beginning of a special military operation. But all Russians understand perfectly well that in fact we are waging a war. A potential criminal should be deprived of the opportunity to commit a crime.

Me:
Aghanistan, Libya and Iraq are NOT member of the NATO, so the NATO has no obligations. Even as it does not have any obligations to defend Ukraine, and thus is not sending soldiers, nor maintaining a no-fly-zone! But: Russia shows that in the 30 years that went since USSR was disbanded, THREE former Soviet states are being attacked. And THAT’s why NATO is on it’s watch, and does everything to make sure, NATO territory is not harmed. By whoever. And well — Russia was in Chechnia, Georgia and in Ukraine the country that attacked. Not NATO. And NATO neither was active part in those wars.
If you really think that European countries, that ally with USA, are vassals, then you might look deeper into the crisis that started after George W. Bush attacked Iraq! Bush asked NATO, NATO said “no”. Then Bush said: “Then we do it alone”. And by alone, he faked some “proof” about Saddam Hussein, having chemical weapons, which alarmed some other countries. After the truth was revealed, and no chemical weapons were found, USA went very low down on the diplomatic ladder — until Obama overtook. In his latest book, he reveals, that 90% of his job existed of “cleaning up after George W. Bush”.

It is not NATO that supplied Ukraine with weapons — many countries do. Some of them are member of NATO, some are not. Some are member of EU, some are not. Sweden sent weapons, but they are not member of NATO. Australia sent weapons, they are neither member of NATO nor EU.
What documents are you referring to? Ukraine wants to become member of both EU and NATO — any attack on Russia would put a stop to that.
The first weapons that were sent to Ukraine arrive a week after February 24th — the day Russia declared war on Ukraine — yes they did! By attacking. By violating another nations autonomy. Russia has nothing to do in Ukraine. Russia has no rights in Ukraine. Not even historical rights.
A special operation doesn’t cost two generals their lives. A special operations with more soldiers than ever have been gathered since World War II (The Great Patriotic War).

“But all Russians understand perfectly well that in fact we are waging a war.” If so, why are media prohibited to call it a war? What is the reason the media cannot decide for them selves what to write?

“A potential criminal should be deprived of the opportunity to commit a crime.”
Then put out Putin. He has the Russians in his hands, and tells them what to believe.

The last part was written 19th of April, 2022. He didn’t reply yet. Sometimes, it takes a few days before he replies, and it also happened, that I had to write something more, before he get’s triggered to reply.

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Albert Denmark

Father, husband, Computer Geek and author. Living in Denmark, born in Holland. Mail: albertdenmark1@gmail.com