Looks like many of you don't know what is the issue behind this. It's not aimed against individuals who state their opinions, conspiracy theories, etc.. The problem is the organised disinformation/propaganda that is (mainly) spread by Russia.
Putin and his inner circle got scared in 2011 when there were big protests against him in Russia, and many of the North African and Middle-East dictators were ousted by the people. Then in 2014 when Ukraine broke away from Russia's influence zone and the "anti-West" attitude/tactic was put in full action, the disinformation-flood from Russia started.
This is done by "the troll-factories" that employ hundreds/thousands of people and are located in Russia (some people who worked there have come public about it). They also use bots who do the work automatically, and probably pay individual people/sites located outside of Russia to spread "the message". Russia has also started to support almost every anti-EU (European Union)/anti-west/far right movement, and target the dissinformation-/hacking-campaings towards elections in Europe and USA.
The main goal of this is to keep Putin (and also other autocrats/dictators) in power, cause division in the EU- and other Western countries (the break-up of EU would be Putins dream, because it would be much easier for Russia to influence decisions of countries who are "on their own" and not part of a big union) and undermine people's trust in democracy (The less people, especially the Russians, want a democratic system the better it's for Putin. All of Russia's allies are also basically run by dictators/autocrats, so that's also a good reason to weaken democracy. Or can you think of situation where a country that is democratically run would like to become an close ally to a country run by a dictator.).
what are some examples of the lies spread by russia?
These are just some related to the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine (over 10 000 deaths):
- "The unmarked soldiers that invaded Crimea are not Russian soldiers."
- "There are no Russian soldiers or military equipment in Eastern Ukraine."
- "The passenger plane that was shot down over Eastern Ukraine was downed by an Ukrainian military aircraft." (In reality it was shot down by a mobile anti-air missile-system that was brought from Russia, and was most likely operated by Russian soldiers.)
- "Ukraine is run by fascists." (In the 2014 elections that were held after Russia attacked Ukraine, the far-right party got 2 % of the votes. But that didn't stop the Russian state media news from reporting that the far-right party got majority of the votes.)
And there are countless of other straight up lies that Russia and its trolls make all the time on daily basis. It's almost at the absurdity-level of North-Korea.