While the issue of fake news is gaining more attention in Western spheres, the Moscow Times recently reminded readers that in Russia “conspiracy theorists have enjoyed prominent positions in political culture since the collapse of the Soviet Union.”
We’ve read with great attention some of the major branches of “conspirology” in today’s Russia, which the article outlines:
– A Western conspiracy against Russia, as exemplified in NATO allegedly encircling Russia. The Moscow Times says that “the supposed CIA-engineered fascist junta controlling Ukraine is just the most recent evidence of Washington’s bastardly plans”. Interestingly, this conspiracy theory is said to have emerged from a sensationalist article by Russian writer Boris Oleynik, released in 1993 that described a supposed plot by the CIA at the height of the Cold War to destroy the Soviet Union from within. The report was banned in 2015 by a Russian court. In addition, the theory that Russia has been occupied by the CIA since the fall of communism, advanced by the National Liberation Movement, “actually enjoys more mainstream support”.
– Zionists are planning to take over the world by manipulating the international financial system. This is also used to discredit those who advocate democratic reforms across the post-Soviet space. Referring to mass protests that have ousted governments in Ukraine, Georgia and Kyrgyzstan, the Moscow Times says: “Tapping into old conspiracy theories about Jews, the Kremlin has long tried to discredit the colour revolutions by tying them to Jewish billionaire George Soros. Even this week, Russian state media have embraced reports that worldwide women’s demonstrations against the inauguration of Donald Trump were ‘sponsored by Soros.'”
– Fight against Satanism: Some Orthodox believers go very far in their beliefs as to where to challenge the devil. The Milk company Russkoe Moloko (“Russian milk”) removed barcodes from their milk packets with the explanation that “It’s long been known that the barcode on all products bears the mark of the devil – it always contains three invisible sixes (666), which is the name of the Antichrist.” In 2008, Patriarch Alexy, head of the Russian Orthodox church, felt the need to clarify that “the use of personal tax reference numbers or other documents containing barcodes is not an acceptance of the mark of the beast.”
– The threat of reptilian overlords: Svetlana Peunova, a candidate in Moscow’s 2013 mayoral election, claimed that reptiles from the fictional planet Nibiru resided in the Zhiguli mountains in southern Russia, having wiped out an ancient Slavic civilization. Those reptiles destroyed all traces of that ancient civilisation being the root of humanity and are still planning the end of the human race, she argued. Ms Peunova called herself a messenger of the Sun and said she led a cult to reptilian overlords. She remains on the police’s wanted list, facing charges of fraud. (Image: Republic.ru)