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The Daily Vertical: Putin's Post-Fact World (Transcript)

  • Brian Whitmore

This week's alleged Crimea incident is, in many ways, a sign of the times.

It's a story without verifiable facts.

Instead, there are only narratives.

Russia claims, without any real evidence, that Ukraine sent agent-saboteurs to Crimea to carry out "terrorist" attacks and were thwarted by the FSB.

Ukraine says no such thing happened.

Moscow says it has captured a group of Ukrainian spies.

Kyiv says at least one of these -- Yevhen Panov, a truck driver from Zaporizhzhya -- was actually kidnapped.

The Kremlin says a shootout took place on the boundary separating mainland Ukraine from Russian-occupied Crimea.

The Ukrainian Defense Ministry says there were indeed shots fired, but only by Russian forces.

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Confused? Well that's sort of the point.

This is all emblematic of the post-fact world the Kremlin prefers to operate in -- one where what matters isn't what actually happened, but rather the story you can spin about what happened.

It's a world where the truth is negotiable.

It's a world where a popular uprising in Ukraine is magically transformed through the dark art of spin into a fascist coup.

It's a world where Russian media reports fictitious stories about children being crucified in Ukraine.

It's a world where the clear shooting down of a civilian airliner by pro-Moscow separatists becomes a mystery we will never get to the bottom of.

It's a world where a Russian effort to prop up a dictator in Syria becomes an antiterrorist operation.

The Kremlin wants a post-fact and post-truth world because, in such a world, anything goes and only might makes right.

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