МОSТ* scripts for talking with loved ones about the Russia-Ukraine war

МОSТ* scripts for talking with loved ones about the Russia-Ukraine war

*bridge in Russian

Well, what happened?

Russia invaded Ukraine and started an unfair, bloody war. Russian politicians and state media constantly lie about this war, calling it a military operation, convincing that civilians are not suffering and that Ukraine must be fully freed from the Nazis. Many people in Russia still believe this propaganda, and our relatives, parents, and friends are among them.

For more than twenty years, the Russian government has been shutting down the independent media and suppressing freedom of speech. Despite this fact, well-educated people with an active civic position found their way to other sources of information. However, their parents, relatives, and classmates are still exposed to the lies that the government publishes on a daily basis.

Russian families are experiencing an unimaginable split and have their own war: parents do not hear their children’s opinions, sisters curse their brothers, and once beloved people repeat what they’ve heard on TV.

Today we are faced with one of the most dramatic situations you can imagine.


Why not just tell people the truth?

Many people don't trust anything, except for what they hear and watch on TV shows, usually sponsored by the Russian government. They easily accept the ideas of propaganda because it appeals to resentment and imperial nostalgia. Russian propaganda is a powerful weapon, but we hope that love and kindness will eventually unite people. Sadly, propaganda is loud, and the anti-war position is quiet, as people are screaming the truth from a distance which transforms into a dying down echo. Some Russians do not even believe their relatives in Ukraine, who write to them from bomb shelters and basements.


How do you enhance that voice and that connection?

With the help of the guide’s to the free world community, we’ve assembled a huge family correspondence database, analyzed it, and realized that the truth is not always the best medicine. We’ve reached out to scientists: psychologists, sociologists, propaganda, and cult specialists. We’ve put together a base of propaganda theses and made a directory of arguments. We also outlined the methodology of the conversations.

The “moral foundations” theory is the basis of the project. The theory explains why moralities differ, but still share fundamental characteristics and proposes that each culture constructs virtues, narratives, and institutions on top of these foundations. Most shared Russian cultural values were selected by scientists and incorporated into each script of the project to ensure that the dialogue will truly touch the hearts and that those anti-war people will finally be heard by their relatives.

Our community constantly helps us to evolve the quality of arguments and suggests new ones (propaganda never sleeps). We are constantly looking for new approaches, and verifying them with scientists.

We believe that an expert approach and public input will help to "reconnect" with loved ones and create a product that is based on the ability to hear, think and resist false opinions.


What is MOST Project?

It's a telegram chatbot with a simulation of the conversation and a website with a base of arguments.

The project with the help of a bot offers different scenarios for conversations.

Users can type in a propaganda thesis and get a hint of what and how to answer their opponent. In the Theses and arguments section or in the bot itself, you can learn the principles of conducting a dialogue: for example, how to build your argument and what answers to the thesis about biological weapons and NATO threats.

We have also collected convincing videos, articles, memes, and statements made by famous Russian people to disseminate. And an equally important part of the project is psychological support for those who talk to relatives. Convincing others is a long road from which many come down from despair. Our team of psychologists has developed support techniques to help you come up with your strategy and get your mom, dad, sister, or brother back.

Putin has taken too much from us already. Our country, our future, our good name.

We don't want to give him our loved ones too.

We beсame responsible for who… have been tamed by propaganda.

МОSТ project created by several teams

guide to the free world

Ira Lobanovskaya

Ilya Inozemtsev

The editors, volunteers, and the community of the guide to the free world

XZ Foundation — anti-war media and cultural projects

Maya Stravinskaya

Maria Shashaeva


Andrey Loshak, journalist, the author of the film "Disconnection"

Ilya Venyavkin, educational designer

Mikhail Zygar, journalist, writer

Natasha Markovich, psychologist

Nigina Beroyeva, journalist

Vladimir Soloviov, special correspondent of Kommersant newspaper

Peter Pomerantsev, journalist, writer, propaganda researcher