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Сonspiracy theories How conspiracy theorists explain events in Ukraine and the world: The Protocols of the Elders of Zion

For years, propagandists have been trying to explain current events with conspiracy theories, trying to shift responsibility for problems with real political actors to imaginary “world governments”. Some of these theories go back to the century before last, such as the well-known falsification of the late 19th - early 20th centuries called The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.

This text was first published in 1903 in the Russian Empire, although it existed in handwritten versions earlier. It outlines the types of plans of a certain Jewish organization to establish world domination. The real authorship of the text is unknown; certain parts of it were copied from ancient pamphlets, thus it is a compilation of conspiracy theories of the anti-Semitic ideas of that time.

Why did such a “document” gain popularity in Russia? The main theses of the imaginary plan of the Jews are the use of various ideologies, from Nietzscheanism to communism, to undermine the “traditional” foundations of society that interfere with the establishment of world domination. The main enemies of Jews and Masons, according to the “Protocols”, are the institutions of the Catholic papacy and the Russian autocracy. This view of political and social processes suited Russian monarchist conservatives, who defended the tsar as the only real obstacle to the “satanic forces” to seize power.

Modern Russian propaganda does not use the Protocols, although conspiratorial anti-Semitism in general often appears even in the expressions of senior representatives of the Putin regime, not to mention more marginal propagandists. However, it can be noted that the approach of conspiracy theories has not changed. Also, modern “evil”, from Ukrainian “Nazism” to Western “cultural Marxism”, seeks to destroy “everything good” that exists in the world, and the only one who “resists” this is the Russian Tsar, who is now called the president. Now, it seems that instead of the conditional Jews of the world, a conditional “global government” threatens the world.

With this primitive technique, propagandists strive to achieve two goals. Firstly, shift responsibility for public problems from real representatives of power, primarily the same tsar-president, who has been in power for decades, to someone else. Secondly, to rally the population around the “traditional” authorities, because they are supposedly the only ones who can protect against growing problems (in fact, inspired by this government). However, at the beginning of the twentieth century, the Protocols of the Elders of Zion did not help the Russian Tsar and his propagandists retain power. From their example, one can clearly see that conspiracy theories are not capable of resolving social contradictions, and authoritarian regimes often fall suddenly and harshly, primarily for their leaders.

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