An occupational hazard of suggesting that the US, NATO or Ukraine’s own government did things that made Russia’s invasion of Ukraine more likely is that you will be accused of being a “Putin apologist” or “stooge of the Kremlin”.
This is clearly an attempt to win the argument through name-calling (like claiming it’s “racist” to criticise Black Lives Matter). But that hasn’t stopped it becoming a standard debating tactic. Of course, there may be commentators who genuinely support Putin, in which case “Putin apologist” would be an accurate descriptor. But most do not.
The latest example of the ‘compare your opponent to Putin’ tactic is a list of individuals who “promote narratives consonant with Russian propaganda”, compiled by the Ukraine Government’s “Centre for Countering Disinformation”.
This has been described as a “blacklist” by some critics, although so far as I’m aware, it does not call for any sanctions against the individuals listed. It really is just name-calling. Specific quotes written in Ukrainian are listed next to each speaker, but no refutations or counter-arguments are provided.
So who’s included on the list? Although I didn’t recognise most of the names, some were familiar to me: Eric Zemmour, Tulsi Gabbard, Rand Paul, Steve Hanke, Jeffrey Sachs, Glenn Greenwald, John Mearsheimer, and a few others.
Of course, “promoting narratives consonant with Russian propaganda” isn’t necessarily name-calling, since some aspects of Russian propaganda might be true, and most of us want to “promote narratives” that are consonant with the truth. But it’s pretty obvious this isn’t what the compilers of the list hand in mind.