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Сonspiracy theories How conspiracy theorists explain events in Ukraine and the world: “movement of sovereign citizens”

Propagandists use various conspiracy theories to justify Russian aggression against Ukraine. One of them is the Sovereign Citizens Movement. This is a group of people in the United States that is common in other countries. They are united by anti-government activities. This group includes activists, litigators, tax protesters, financial fraudsters and conspiracy theorists. They adhere to their own pseudo-legal ideology, which is based on distorted interpretations of common law. They say that they are not limited by government laws if they do not agree with them.

According to the FBI, sovereign citizens are “anti-government extremists” who consider themselves separate from the United States despite living within its borders. They reject the authority of courts and government laws, believing that they can avoid legal obligations through various tactics. This includes refusing to pay taxes, ignoring laws, and rejecting official documents such as Social Security numbers and driver's licenses. Although the arguments of sovereign citizens have no legal validity and have never been recognized by the court.

The movement often attracts individuals facing financial or legal problems or those who consider government actions to be discriminatory. As a result, it grows during periods of economic or social crises. Although it was first associated with racist and right-wing groups, it now includes people of various ethnic backgrounds, including a significant number of African Americans. Most sovereign citizens do not support violence, but their methods often involve illegal activities. Some of them were convicted of tax and financial fraud, as well as traffic violations. The United States Federal Bureau of Investigation classifies the Movement as domestic terrorists.

Sovereign citizen legal theories reinterpret the United States Constitution through selective readings of legal dictionaries, state court decisions or specific rules, and other sources, including the Bible. They routinely ignore the second clause of Article VI of the Constitution, which establishes it as the fundamental law of the land and the Supreme Court as the final authority for interpretation. In addition, many in the Movement consider the county sheriff to be the most important law enforcement officer in the country, with powers greater than those held by federal agents, elected officials, or local law enforcement agencies. This argument is now becoming more used in the context of events occurring around US immigration policy and the recent decisions of the Governor of Texas on defending the state border.

In the post-Soviet space, the Movement is represented by the Union of Slavic Forces of Russia (USSR), also known as “citizens of the USSR” and “necrocommunists”. It is an informal social movement, whose supporters believe that the USSR (and/or the Russian Empire) as a sovereign state and subject of international relations still exists, they consider themselves citizens of this state and do not recognize the Russian Federation, do not comply with its laws and do not obey her government, an ideological movement that believes in conspiracy theories and anti-Semitism.

The ideology of the movement is used to justify Russian aggression towards Ukraine and to stop providing assistance to it. The idea of a “USSR that still exists” has formed the basis of Russian state ideology and is the motivation for the disinformation campaign waged by the Kremlin on a global scale.

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