Putin is using these 5 conspiracy theories to justify the invasion of Ukraine

Five Conspiracy Theories
1.
Everyone wants a piece of Russia
2.
Fear of the Western Border
3.
4.
'Defending Russian values'
5.
Claims about Ukrainian biological weapons
What do the Russians think about this?
Difficult to estimate from the outside
The Z means they are pro-Putin
Those who are against must be silent
Opposition parties suppressed
Five Conspiracy Theories

Whatever the world says, Vladimir Putin is convinced that his war in Ukraine is justified. According to Russian media historian Ilya Yablokov, the Kremlin uses five conspiracy theories to justify the invasion. He listed them in an op-ed for The New York Times.

1. "The West wants to carve up Russia’s territory"

The first of the five theories Yablokov lists is that "The West wants to carve up Russia's territory."

Image: Egor Filin/Unsplash

Everyone wants a piece of Russia

The article quotes Putin in his belief that "everyone" wants a piece of Russia. He evokes feelings in the Russian population from the Cold War, when the West was always an existential threat.

2. "NATO has turned Ukraine into a military camp"

According to Yablokov, the Kremlin is also promoting the claim that "NATO has turned Ukraine into a military camp."

Fear of the Western Border

The media historian says this has become a useful motivation to move Russian voters towards Putin. 'The enemy' is on the Russian border, so to speak.

3. "The opposition wants to destroy Russia from within — and is backed by the West"

Another useful motivation? The Russian opposition, led by figures like Alexei Navalny, poses a threat from within. Navalny is currently in prison.

"Backed by the West"

The New York Times op-ed added to the third conspiracy theory that the opposition — who wants to destroy Russia from within — "backed by the West."

4. "The global L.G.B.T.Q. movement is a plot against Russia"

"The global LGBT+ movement is a plot against Russia." According to Yaboklov, this is another topic with which the government wants to show that there is a big dichotomy between the West and Russia.

'Defending Russian values'

Putin claims that with his war he only defends the traditional Christian values of the Russian people. It is one of the most divisive points the Kremlin is using against the West.

5. "Ukraine is preparing bioweapons to use against Russia"

The fifth and final theory goes beyond the rhetoric and poses a serious charge: "Ukraine is preparing to use  bioweapons against Russia."

Claims about Ukrainian biological weapons

Even Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (pictured) has shared this concoction to stoke the ongoing conflict.

What do the Russians think about this?

These theories are constantly shared by the Russian media. But does it also mean that the Russian people support the war?

Image: Artem Beliaikin / Unsplash

Difficult to estimate from the outside

It is difficult to say to what extent the Russians actually believe these theories. There are few opportunities to accurately gauge the mood of the population in the closed-off country.

The Z means they are pro-Putin

Some stick the letter Z on their windows: a signal that has become a pro-Putin symbol over the course of the war.

Those who are against must be silent

Others protest the invasion. There are images of demonstrations in Moscow and other cities. However, many activists end up in prison for protesting 'illegally', according to the Kremlin.

Opposition parties suppressed

Can elections provide a clear picture of Russian public opinion? Unfortunately, that too is difficult. The Russian opposition parties hardly have the same opportunities to campaign during elections as the pro-government camp.

(In the photo: Alexej Navalny addresses the court from prison in an appeal against his prison sentence.)

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