Vladimir Putin’s control of the message in his war with Ukraine shows the extreme importance of having a free and unfettered press. I do not believe that the Russian people would support this war if they had clear access to the photos and videos showing the destruction to the Ukrainian civilian areas.
After this war is over and Putin removed from power, the Russian people will need to conduct a national truth reconciliation commission to provide their soldiers and leaders with an opportunity to tell their own people the evils that they conducted in their name.
Such a commission occurred in South Africa after the fall of apartheid. The American army also required many Germans to personally visit the Nazi concentration camps so that they could not ever say that the Holocaust was not real.
To rejoin the nations of Europe, Russia should be required to hold such a public commission and to set in place in their public life a free and unfettered press so that their leaders can be held accountable and prevented from conducting such future wars.