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Revealing SchemesThe Politics of Conspiracy in Russia and the Post-Soviet Region$
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Scott Radnitz

Print publication date: 2021

Print ISBN-13: 9780197573532

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2021

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780197573532.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use.date: 25 June 2022

Traumas and Tyranny?

Traumas and Tyranny?

The Long-Term and Proximate Roots of Conspiracism

(p.28) 2 Traumas and Tyranny?
Revealing Schemes

Scott Radnitz

Oxford University Press

This chapter seeks out the origins of conspiracism in the former Soviet Union. It critiques arguments that conspiracism in Russia (and in other successor parts of the Russian Empire) is best explained by the region’s troubled historical development. It argues that history does matter, not by preordaining a country’s fate, but by providing a set of reference points and tropes that can be invoked under certain circumstances. It then examines challenges the region’s leaders faced in more recent times that might trigger a conspiratorial interpretation, focusing on two major preoccupations: political control and sovereignty. The chapter closes with a narrative account of the 42 critical events sampled to compile the database of conspiracy claims, laying the groundwork for the next chapter.

Keywords:   conspiracy theory, Soviet history, propaganda, political rhetoric, political culture, post-communist transitions, state-building, sovereignty, authoritarianism, political intrigue

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