Are ordinary Russians innocent?

I keep reading posts on LinkedIn about how most Russians do not support the war and they did not vote for Putin and did not know anyone who did etc. There have been reports in Germany, the Czech Republic, Poland etc. where Russians are refused services or publicly called out at school for being Russian, some have drawn parallel between russophobia now and the anti-Japanese sentiment in the US during WWII, MENA discrimination post-911, and Asian hate crimes due to covid. Other arguments include that it is impossible to protest in Russia, so they should not be blamed for not speaking up, and that the West have also committed many atrocities. Most commonly cited ones are the American invasion of Iraq and the Israel-Palestine conflict.

On the other hand, there are also polls showing that the majority of Russians support the war and the letter Z is very trendy in Russia now like swastika used to be in 1930s Germany. Those from Baltic states also claim that the ethnic Russian minorities in their countries overwhelmingly support the Russian government. Even if many Russians condemn the war now, they practically unanimously supported the annexation of Crimea (note: so did Navalny) and the invasion of Georgia, so it is not unreasonable to infer that they are only against the war now due to the inconvenience brought upon by the sanctions. Even the Russian news editor’s protest on tv has been called staged as she only received a small fine in the end.

So what do you think? Should Russians be blamed for this war? Or are they also victims?

  • No. Russians are Putin’s enablers and are complicit in the country’s crime
  • Yes. Russians are also victims and it’s discrimination to blame them.
  • I just want to see the results.

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I think you have the yes/no answers mixed up, or the question should be “guilty”?

Oh right lol. I’ll fix it.

If they’ve spoken out against Putin, then yes, they are innocent. If they’ve never spoken out, or even actually voted for Putin, they are enablers.


I’d go with something like that as well, rather than either of the black/white options offered.

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The thing is it looks like the majority of them have not spoken out. Individuals might not be responsible, but as a people, are they to blame? Germans were considered guilty after WWII. Should Russians get the same treatment?

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If they’ve spoken out against Putin we probably won’t be hearing much from them.


No freedom is granted by the dictator.

I added some explanation.

Not all Russians have support Putin, and not all of them have support this war…?

There are polls showing the majority support this war. Even if they do not support this war now, they almost all supported annexation of Crimea, so it’s safe to say many of them only flipped because of the sanctions.

Some Russians are innocent (but not with the OP explanation), and some are not. It’s probably best to treat each person as an individual…you know, like how we are supposed to do with every human.


Germans were all considered complicit in Nazi war crimes. As a people they can definitely be considered guilty (collective guilt).

By whom? I certainly don’t consider them all complicit.

Certainly one could consider them all guilty and support the concept of collective guilt if you don’t believe in justice or the dignity owed to all humans merely by existing…you know, the foundation of rights the West.



Germans were considered guilty for WWII for a very long time as a people. I did not invent this. It’s the basis of Vergangenheitsbewältigung, aka German reckoning.

By whom? Not by me. The Wikipedia article seems to suggest that it is something that some Germans felt themselves, not something foisted upon them.

Congratulations! But you are defending the concept, though apparently in bastardized form.

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Isn’t it obvious? Russians should feel that themselves, but they clearly do not. Those who are against the invasion keep quoting vapid shit like “make love not war” and cry foul over being discriminated in the West. I have not read one Russian agreeing that Russians, as a people, should be held responsible for their actions. They either support the invasion or they deny any involvement.


Yeah, so you are foisting this on them and then blaming them for not feeling that way as a group.

Perhaps it’s best to judge them individually based on what they actually believe and do.

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Thing is, if you punish a people for crimes committed by the rulers, you will punish the individuals who oppose/d those rulers a second time. That really sucks.

There should be more options, like “Putin’s supporters are complicit, but those who are against him are not.”

Certainly this protesting newscaster in the back is not only innocent, but has more balls than Putin’s entire entourage.


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