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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: 23 May 2022

The Lay of the Land

The Lay of the Land

What 20 Years of Post-Soviet Conspiracy Claims Tell Us

(p.44) 3 The Lay of the Land
Revealing Schemes

Scott Radnitz

Oxford University Press

This chapter explores the database of conspiracy claims in order to lay the groundwork for the analysis in future chapters. It begins by describing how the database was created and presenting an overview of its contents, including simple graphs showing where conspiracies (supposedly) take place, the nationalities of the accusers, and the identities of the perpetrators. To give a sense of the stories the claims tell, it homes in on three narrative elements of conspiracy—goals, actions, and logics—and provides examples. Finally, it breaks down the data according to combinations of accusers and perpetrators. Perusing the conspiracy claims reveals how they emerge from quotidian political realities, but in a milieu pervaded by intrigue, insecurity, and uncertainty. These claims tell a story—actually, several—about politics, but revolve around two questions: Who is doing what to whom and what do the perpetrators hope to accomplish?

Keywords:   conspiracy theory, narrative, narrative structure, political rhetoric, fifth column, terrorism, contentious politics, corruption, political intrigue

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