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Fortress Russia: Conspiracy Theories in Post-Soviet Russia

Fortress Russia: Conspiracy Theories in Post-Soviet Russia

Ilya Yablokov

ISBN: 978-1-509-52265-1

Aug 2018, Polity

288 pages

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$69.95

Description

Allegations of Russian conspiracies to meddle in the affairs of Western countries have been a persistent feature of Western politics since the Cold War – recent allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential election are only the most recent in a long series of conspiracy allegations that mark the history of the 20th century. However, Russian politics is rife with conspiracies about the West too. Everything bad that happens in Russia is traced back by some to an anti-Russian plot that is hatched in the West. Even the collapse of the Soviet Union – this crucial turning point in world politics that left the US as the only remaining superpower – was, according to some Russian conspiracy theorists, planned and executed by Russia's enemies in the West. Appearing first among post-Soviet Russian intellectuals, this notion became the driving force behind Russia's annexation of the Crimea, its military involvement in Ukraine and its suppression of dissenting voices in the country. 

This book is the first-ever study of Russian conspiracy theories in the post-Soviet period. It explores how the West is portrayed in these conspiracy theories and how this image is used to create public support for the Kremlin. It examines why these conspiracy theories have emerged and gained currency in Russia and what role intellectuals have played in this process. The book shows how, in the new millennium, the image of the 'dangerous, conspiring West' provides national unity and has helped legitimize Russia's rapid turn to authoritarianism under Vladimir Putin. 

Fortress Russia provides a unique and valuable insight into the political climate in Russia, where conspiracy theories play a significant role in shaping attitudes and policies towards the West. It will be of great interest to students and scholars of Russian politics and to anyone who wishes to understand Russia’s role in the world today.

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  • Contents
  • Introduction
  • Chapter 1: Building ‘Fortress Russia’
  • Chapter 2: The Spectres of conspiracy mythmaking
  • Chapter 3: In Search of the ‘agents of perestroika’
  • Chapter 4: Sovereign democracy and its enemies
  • Chapter 5: Battling against ‘foreign agents’
  • Chapter 6: Shadows of the colour revolution
  • Chapter 7: The War has begun
  • Conclusion