Allegations of Russian conspiracies meddling in the affairs of Western countries have been a persistent feature of Western politics since the Cold War, but Russian politics are rife with conspiracies about the West too. Join historian Ilya Yablokov for discussion of his new book with Sam Greene.
Everything bad that happens in Russia is traced back by some to an anti-Russian plot that is hatched in the West. Even the collapse of the Soviet Union - this crucial turning point in world politics that left the USA as the only remaining superpower - was, according to some Russian conspiracy theorists, planned and executed by Russia's enemies in the West. This book is the first-ever study of Russian conspiracy theories in the post-Soviet period. In it, Yablokov examines why these conspiracy theories have emerged and gained currency in Russia and what role intellectuals play in this process. The book shows how, in the new millennium, the image of the 'dangerous, conspiring West' provides national unity and has helped legitimize Russia's rapid turn to authoritarianism under Vladimir Putin.
Ilya Yablokov received his MA in Nationalism Studies with Distinction from Central European University (Budapest) and PhD in Russian Studies from the University of Manchester (UK). Ilya currently teaches Russian history, politics and culture at the University of Leeds (UK). His research interests include conspiracy theories, nation-building and politics in post-Soviet Russia, history of post-Soviet journalism and international broadcasting. He is a principal investigator of the British Academy funded project ‘Self-Censorship in post-Socialist states’ (with Elisabeth Schimpfossl of Aston University).
In 2015 he received the prize of the British Association of Slavonic and East European Studies for the best peer-reviewed article. He is now working on two book projects: the first project is about conspiracy theories in the broadcasts of the Russian international TV channel Russia Today (RT). The second project is the study of the history of media management in post-Soviet Russia. The book is concerned with the biographies of Russia’s main media managers, such as Konstantin Ernst, Derk Sauer and Aram Gabrelyanov.
Dr Sam Greene is an expert in Russian politics and social movements, and the link between Russian domestic and foreign policy. Sam has written extensively on policy and academic formats and is a frequent commentator in Russian and international media. His areas of research interest currently focus on understanding Russia’s shifting state-society relations and the causes and implications of the recent re-emergence of contested politics in Russia, including the social, political and economic effects of new media. A 13-year resident of Moscow, he speaks fluent Russian and holds a PhD from the London School of Economics and Political Science.