"The uses of this kind of coverage aren’t hard to guess. Clearly, it is not in the Russian state’s interest for the Russian nation to admire Europe, not for its democracy or its rule of law, and certainly not for its high standards of living. The memory of the Maidan protest of 2014 — young Ukrainians protesting in Kiev, waving European flags and calling for an end to corruption — is still fresh enough to be frightening in Moscow. If the Putin regime can undermine the idea of “Europe” and make it unattractive to Russians — most of whom have long identified themselves as Europeans — then it removes a source of hope, and a possible model. If Europe is crazy, twisted, dangerous and dying, then surely Russians are better off under their corrupt authoritarian system."