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Сonspiracy theories How conspiracy theorists explain events in Ukraine and the world: “Pastel QAnon”

Propagandists have been trying to destabilize the situation in the world for years by supporting various conspiracy movements. An example of this is the situation with “pastel QAnon”.

QAnon, as we have previously written, is an active American conspiracy and political movement centered around the baseless claims of an anonymous person or persons known as Q. In their statements, they claim that there is a certain secret organization of satanic cannibals involved in sexual abuse of children. Allegedly, it is in charge of the global process of child trafficking and coordinated the conspiracy against former US President Donald Trump.

“Pastel QAnon” is a set of tactics and strategies that use “soft” aesthetic elements, particularly pastel colors, to attract additional audiences to the QAnon conspiracy theory. This phenomenon often unfolds on major social media platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, Telegram and YouTube.

Social media influencers associated with “pastel QAnon” focus on aspects of QAnon theory that appeal to maternal instincts, particularly issues about preventing child sexual abuse and human trafficking. They use an emotional and engaged presentation, which is popular among influencers in the field of health, yoga and new age. The term was coined by Marc-André Argentino, a researcher at Concordia University in Canada.

QAnon fans have moved from encrypted pages and anonymous forums to major platforms such as Facebook and Instagram. “Pastel QAnon” uses them to spread messages about child “protection”, child trafficking, health and other topics. They exemplify what the movement is about. The presentation is deliberately done using an informal style. Posts do not always indicate their views on QAnon, and their authors often deny any ties to the movement but promote the same conspiracy theories as QAnon. Often this is done by using already existing popular hashtags, distorting the meaning of the original intentions of their creation and the efforts of organizations involved in combating human trafficking. This is the situation with the #SaveTheChildren hashtag, which was used by QAnon activists.

Pastel QAnon uses soft aesthetic elements such as pastel colors, glitter effects, washed out colors, strokes, illustrations of nature, fashion, makeup, and the language of spiritual and motivational quotes. This visual aesthetic includes elements that are familiar to target groups due to their popularity in product and service advertising, which contributes to its appeal among the audience.

Russia not only supports the development of this movement in a foreign context, but also uses it or similar tactics in its propaganda. This approach was used to create visual materials for last year's protests against the President of Ukraine in Odesa. Then Russians created an information campaign to protest rolling blackouts.

In addition, propagandists often use spiritual quotes in their materials on Russian aggression against Ukraine and soft visual aesthetics. This is done in order to spread your messages among those who find the usual presentation style too aggressive. This is also used by Russian propagandists working abroad.

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