December 11, 2023

What Russians Actually Think


What Russians Actually Think
A man on the Russian street is hit with a question. YouTube, "1420 by Daniil Orain."

With all the swirling misinformation and storms of conflicting reports fluttering out of Russia these days, it's hard to parse what's real and what's not. Fortunately, for a more grounded approach, there's 1420 by Daniil Orain.

1420 is a YouTube channel that focuses on street interviews with real-life, everyday Russians. The host asks questions — sometimes difficult, usually open-ended — to see what passersby think about current affairs, history, and modern life in Russia.

Topics range from nostalgia for the USSR to propaganda old and new to the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact. If you've been educated in the West, or haven't spent much time asking Russians' opinions, you may be surprised by some answers.

Perhaps 1420's greatest strength is that its interviewees are diverse: young and old, highly educated and not, urban and rural. Although most videos appear to be filmed in Moscow, question responses can be all over the map.

For anyone curious about what the everyday Russian thinks, as the country grows more isolated in the wake of its invasion of Ukraine, 1420 is an invaluable resource.

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