5 conspiracies: What do Russian conspiracy theorists believe in?

Fearful man looking sideways through venetian blind.

Fearful man looking sideways through venetian blind.

Getty Images
International conspiracy theories acquire their own flavor in Russia and are intricately interwoven with local ones. By and large, these theories are popular among conservative and patriotically minded, religious people who believe that the whole world's only dream is to ruin their country and faith.

1. The false Peter I

Peter the Great. Source: Kunsthalle HamburgPeter the Great. Source: Kunsthalle Hamburg

Many people were unhappy with reformer Tsar Peter the Great, who ruled from 1682 to 1725. He introduced European dress, forced nobles to cut their beards, and abolished the Patriarchate. An Antichrist, a foreign spy!? Was he perhaps substituted during his diplomatic mission abroad?

The rumors to this effect didn't abate even after the emperor's death. And they still persist. Numerous conspiracy articles can be found online that try to prove that the tsar was not the real tsar. Firstly – the reforms. Secondly, he stopped loving his wife and banished her to a monastery. Third, he aged after the trip. Fourth, in his early portraits he has a wart and in the later ones he doesn't. And, most importantly, immediately after the "substitution" of Peter a mysterious prisoner, known as the Man in the Iron Mask, appeared in the Bastille.

QUIZ: True or false: How much do you know about Russia’s first emperor?

2. Judeo-Masonic conspiracy

 Masonic symbol with the star of David at The State Museum of the History of Religion. Source: Vadim Zhernov/TASS Masonic symbol with the star of David at The State Museum of the History of Religion. Source: Vadim Zhernov/TASS

In the 18th century Russian nobles were fond of Freemasonry. Some took the mysterious rituals seriously, while others regarded them as a bit of fun. Anyway, there were a lot of Freemasons among the upper circles of society. And the use of Kabbalistic symbols by Masons gave rise to talk of their links with the Jews. And after that it didn't take long before the allegation that Jews "drank the blood of Christian babies" appeared.

Currently, all the lodges in Russia put together have fewer than 2,000 Freemasons. Many lodges were closed down because they had too few members. But the number of those who believe in a Judeo-Masonic conspiracy against Russia is much higher.

For instance, a book by Tatiana Skvortsova, Holy Russia against Khazaria, has been published with a circulation of 35,000. According to the book, descendants of the Khazar Khaganate of the Middle Ages, in which Judaism was widespread, rule the world, in collusion with the Catholics. According to the author, the conspiracy is not between the Jews and Masons but between the Jews, Masons, and the Vatican. And that’s just one example.

Conspiracy theorists have a curious attitude to Vladimir Putin. In the past he was often regarded as one of the world's Masonic leaders alongside George Bush, but after Crimea joined Russia he is more and more often portrayed as a heroic fighter against global evil.

3. Killer doctors

Stalin blamed doctors in deaths of his close friends. Source: TASS Stalin blamed doctors in deaths of his close friends. Source: TASS

In 1948-1953 the USSR conducted a campaign against "rootless cosmopolitans" – members of the intelligentsia who were skeptical of the authorities, were suspected of "kowtowing to the West" and were mostly Jewish. They were sacked from senior positions and some were arrested. The so-called Doctors' Plot was one component of the campaign.

It started after the death of Andrei Zhdanov, a close ally of Stalin. One of the doctors treating him wrote a complaint accusing her colleagues of being too late to diagnose a heart attack that Zhdanov had suffered and prescribing the wrong treatment. It led to mass repressions against "the murderers in white coats" who, allegedly, deliberately caused people harm. Zionism was one of the many accusations against them.

After Stalin's death the persecution of doctors ceased and all its victims were rehabilitated. But not everyone believed this. Often people don't seek medical help, believing that killer doctors will finish them off, dismember them for organ transplantation, or even test some dangerous drug on them - or will give them an injection that, as is known, will provoke autism, mutations, infertility and heavy-metal poisoning.

Also, together with the jabs, electronic chips are implanted inside people. You don't believe it? But 17,500 subscribers to the group "I am against inoculation and chip implantation in children" on the VKontakte social network do.

4. The Number of the Beast and the seal of the Antichrist

"The Number of the Beast is 666". Source: William Blake Archive"The Number of the Beast is 666". Source: William Blake Archive

Since 1999 every employee in Russia has to have a Taxpayer Identification Number (Russian abbreviation: INN). To glorify Satan of course! Do you remember what the Book of Revelation says about the Number of the Beast? "No-one can buy or sell unless he has the mark, that is, the name of the beast or the number of the beast…"

What does this have to do with the number 666? When the INN number was still at the project stage, there were rumors that each number would include three sixes. It turned out not to be the case. But website after website claims that the presence of the "devil's number" in the INN barcode was confirmed by the federal court of the town of Priozersk in Leningrad Region.

No government website is aware of any "INN barcode." There is no barcode on the INN certificate issued to taxpayers, but that doesn't matter. The main thing is to say the cherished word. A barcode, by default, always contains 666: The two thin dividing lines at the beginning, in the middle, and at the end of a linear barcode each resemble the image of the digit 6 adopted in computer coding.

Following repeated statements by the Russian Orthodox Church to the effect that it is not a sin for a Christian to use the INN number or barcodes, the passions around it have subsided a little. However, websites such as "Not INN" or "No Electronic Concentration Camp" are still in operation and are regularly updated. Among other things, they claim that soon everyone will be implanted with electronic chips labeled 666 - in order that total control of mankind can result, of course.

5. Dulles Plan

Allen Dulles. Source: APAllen Dulles. Source: AP

The treacherous Americans poison Russians with the help of GMOs and vaccinations; they impose their ways by electronic means and manipulate politicians. But, most importantly, they corrupt the young, following the plan of Allen Dulles, the head of the CIA from 1953 to 1961.

"We will pull out their spiritual roots, vulgarize, and destroy the foundations of their public morals. We will thus subvert generation after generation. We will influence people from their childhood and adolescence, and the main focus will always be on YOUNG PEOPLE - we will corrode, corrupt, and deprave them. We will turn them into cynics, philistines, and cosmopolitans. That's how we will do it! " declares the insidious plan which, it seems, never existed.

The text of the plan was first published in 1993 and later it emerged that it was copied almost word-for-word from The Eternal Call, a patriotic novel by Anatoly Ivanov that came out in 1981. Nevertheless, even some politicians believe the plan does exist. Thus, in 2016 the governor of Samara accused opposition activist Alexei Navalny of pursuing it.

Read more: How Lenin came to lead the Russian Revolution

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