Until the full-scale invasion of Ukraine last year, much of the success of Russia under President Vladimir Putin has been due to the skilful spreading of Kremlin narratives to the world, frequently via the Russian diaspora.
But not all Russians abroad toe the propaganda line. A group in Australia has taken matters into its own hands, just as the Kremlin’s behaviour has become more undemocratic and threatening.
They formed the Svoboda Alliance – “Svoboda” is the Russian word for freedom. It has called on the “Australian government to expel Russian diplomats for their lies and propaganda”.
“Our organisation is helping Russians who were afraid to raise their voices,” said Russia-born, Melbourne-based President of Svoboda Alliance Victoria Evgeniya Manakova. “We show we’re not afraid of the Russian regime.”