Cover Osteuropa 4/2015

In Osteuropa 4/2015

Enemies, Traitors, Fifth Columns
Russian Conspiracy Theories on the Ukraine Crisis

Il’ja Jablokov

Deutsche Fassung


For a long time, conspiracy theories were considered “religion for the mentally ill”. Formerly prevalent above all in marginalised social milieus, they have in Russia moved to the centre of politics, publishing, and society. This can be seen in the response to the Ukraine crisis. The Putin system systematically constructs conspiracy theories and uses them as an instrument of power. They serve to polarize society, to integrate the majority, to stigmatise the minority, and to mobilize against opponents as well as supposed traitors and enemies. They are supposed to lend legitimacy to the regime. That this succeeds and conspiracy theories meet with credulity and a ready following shows that fewer and fewer people are capable of soberly analysing events. The propaganda is working.

(Osteuropa 4/2015, pp. 99–114)