Politics | History

Russian “What About?” Trolls Are Fueling Putin’s Invasion

A “whataboutism” campaign is infiltrating our sphere.

Sean Kernan
5 min readMar 9, 2022


Editorial rights purchased via iStock Photos

Information is as dangerous as any tank.

Win the hearts and minds of the people, and you can win any war.

For example, go to any major social media post or news article about the invasion of Ukraine — and you’ll often see these comments:

“How is this different than the Iraq invasion?”

“What about Palestine?”

“What about Afghanistan?”

These comments churn up flame wars. People argue in long ugly threads.

Meanwhile, the original article was about an elderly Ukrainian couple being killed by a tank.

What people don’t realize is that many of these “what about” comments are by Kremlin trolls.

They’re deploying the whataboutism fallacy, which was popularized by the Soviet Union.

A whataboutism is a flawed argument that accuses hypocrisy without addressing an initial claim.

Any criticism of the Soviet Union (Afghanistan, martial law in Poland, imprisonment of dissidents, censorship) was met with a ‘What about…’ (apartheid South…



Sean Kernan

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