“I Can’t Change Anything”: Why Lack of Agency Makes Ukrainians Vulnerable to Anti-Western Propaganda


A lack of individual or collective agency is a key factor making people vulnerable to conspiratorial anti-Western propaganda in Ukraine, according to the findings of the study by Arena think tank, Internews Ukraine, the Public Interest Journalism Lab, and the Kharkiv Institute for Social Research.

In this article, Internews Ukraine and UkraineWorld expound on some of the findings, in particular how a feeling of lacking personal or collective agency (i.e. disbelief in one’s ability to change reality, to influence the surrounding world, to be responsible for one’s own affairs, etc) makes people vulnerable to conspiratorial anti-Western propaganda.

Introduction: Why anti-Western propaganda matters in Ukraine

After the 2013-2014 Revolution of Dignity and the start of Russian military aggression against Ukraine, trust in Russia and especially its leadership has collapsed in Ukraine.

However, a number of powerful actors (which Internews Ukraine and UkraineWorld regularly study here: https://ukraineworld.org/articles/infowatch) have developed and deployed an information campaign aimed at portraying the collective West as the biggest threat to Ukraine’s sovereignty.

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