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Tactics and tools How conspiracy theorists explain events in Ukraine and the world: the theory of “cultural Marxism”

Propagandists are constantly trying to justify Russia's actions in various ways, using and fueling the theories and concepts created by right-wing radical movements.

We have already written about the “world Jewish conspiracy” theory and other anti-Semitic conspiracy theories. The theory of “cultural Marxism” is no exception, as it depicts Marxism and its “creators” as the main threat to the world. In particular, its fans believe that in the twentieth century, a number of Jewish intellectuals allegedly conspired to destroy “Western culture and traditions”. Like, LGBTQI +, feminism, multiculturalism and other progressive phenomena are really promoted as part of the process of “destruction” and are artificially planted all over the world.

This theory is an example of how conspiracy theories can harm society and cause tragedies. She inspired the Oslo attacks in 2011, when Anders Breivik planted explosives in the government quarter of the capital and shot young people who participated in a youth camp on the island of Utoya. To explain his own intentions before committing the attacks, Breivik published his manifesto for the “liberation of Europe”, in particular, from “cultural Marxism”, where he quoted books from the 1990s that spread the theory. Breivik's attacks were tried to be repeated in a number of countries around the world, in particular in Poland and the Czech Republic, and the terrorist who fired at mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, called himself a follower of Breivik’s ideas. Now, however, right-wing radical figures in the US and Europe are constantly using the “bulk of cultural Marxism” in their public speeches.

Mentions of the theory can also be found in Russian anonymous telegram channels, especially among “military correspondents”. They justify Russia's aggression against Ukraine by fighting Western values, generalizing them with the term of cultural Marxism. Like, in Ukraine they are deliberately instilling a policy of multiculturalism and tolerance, which contradicts “traditional values”. Russian propaganda does not hesitate to use the statements of right-wing radical figures on this topic, fueling anti-Ukrainian rhetoric. Despite the fact that it positions itself as the legal successor of the USSR and announces a course towards “denazification”, in this way Russia is simultaneously struggling with leftist ideology and “manifestations of Marxism”. By resorting to spreading the ideas of this theory, Russia once again confirms its imperial ambitions and neglect of the Ukrainian people.

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