The Kremlin can't handle the truth.
Why else, after all, would it effectively neutralize Russia's only independent pollster?
By declaring the Levada Center a "foreign agent," Vladimir Putin's regime has significantly escalated its war on facts.
By blacklisting an organization whose sole purpose is to understand and explain public opinion, the Kremlin is sending a chilling message that it will be the sole arbiter of what the Russian people think and what they want.
And by handcuffing the country's only honest pollster, leaving only regime-approved lackeys to fill the void, the authorities have pretty much assured that we'll all be in the dark about the forces shaping public opinion.
And they've done so less than two weeks before parliamentary elections.
Putin's regime has little use for truth and it has little use for facts.
What it cares about is the narrative it can shape and the story it can tell to suit the needs of the moment.
And when pesky facts get in the way of the story it wants to tell, those providing the facts are enemies of the regime.
They could be honest historians telling truths, like that the Soviet Union collaborated with Adolf Hitler to divide and conquer Europe in 1939.
It could be bloggers and journalists, exposing things like Russia's invasion of Ukraine, or the corruption of Putin's inner circle.
Or it could be the country's last independent pollster, which provided us with the only honest picture of what Russians really think.
But the Kremlin has no use for these things -- it can't handle the truth.