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Conspiracy theories in the post-Soviet space

journal contribution
posted on 2023-06-08, 13:31 authored by Stefanie OrtmannStefanie Ortmann, John Heathershaw
Despite the ubiquity of conspiracy theories in the former Soviet Union, there is an almost total lack of systematic research on the issue. The relative absence of writing about conspiracy theories in Russia and the former Soviet Union is noteworthy as, since the Tsarist era, conspiracy theories have found fertile ground across the Russian empire and indeed the Soviet Union, and they continue to abound during in the post-Soviet space. Perhaps it would not be an exaggeration to say that anyone recently doing social science or humanities research on the region will have come across conspiracy theories as a form of historical analysis or artistic expression, as has recently been explored with regard to the novels of Andrei Pelevin. The phenomenon seems to operate in fictional and nonfictional accounts both on the level of popular narratives and, in the case of Russia and some regional governments, in the official discourses of state power. Some of the reasons for the rise in popularity of conspiracy theories in the post-Soviet era will be explored below. In fact, this introductory article serves a dual purpose: both to discuss the theoretical implications of analyzing conspiracy theories in the post-Soviet space and to sketch out a research agenda for what is a largely unexplored field. The latter demands that we attend to questions of what might be specific and especially significant about conspiracy theories in the post-Soviet space, and how the post-Soviet type adds to the emergence of a field of conspiracy theory studies which seeks to understand this apparently increasingly prominent feature of the post-modern world


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  • Published


The Russian Review




Wiley Publishing





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  • International Relations Publications

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