Fortress RussiaConspiracy Theories in Post-Soviet Russia
Fortress Russia
Conspiracy Theories in Post-Soviet Russia

Allegations of Russian conspiracies meddling in the affairs of Western countries have been a persistent feature of Western politics since the Cold War – allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential election are only the most recent in a long series of conspiracy allegations that mark the history of the twentieth century.  But Russian politics is rife with conspiracies about the West too.  Everything bad that happens in Russia is traced back by some to an anti-Russian plot that is hatched in the West.   Even the collapse of the Soviet Union – this crucial turning point in world politics that left the USA as the only remaining superpower – was, according to some Russian conspiracy theorists, planned and executed by Russia’s enemies in the West.


This book is the first-ever study of Russian conspiracy theories in the post-Soviet period.  It examines why these conspiracy theories have emerged and gained currency in Russia and what role intellectuals have played in this process.  The book shows how, in the new millennium, the image of the ‘dangerous, conspiring West’ provides national unity and has helped legitimise Russia’s rapid turn to authoritarianism under Vladimir Putin.

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  • June 2018 (pb)
    June 2018 (hb)
  • 256 pages
  • 229 x 152 mm / 9 x 6 in
Available Formats
  • Hardback $69.95
  • 9781509522651
  • Paperback $24.95
  • 9781509522668
  • Open eBook $24.95
  • 9781509522699
Table of Contents


Chapter 1: Building ‘Fortress Russia’

Chapter 2: The Spectres of conspiracy mythmaking

Chapter 3: In Search of the ‘agents of perestroika’

Chapter 4: Sovereign democracy and its enemies

Chapter 5: Battling against ‘foreign agents’

Chapter 6: Shadows of the colour revolution

Chapter 7: The War has begun


About the Author

Ilya Yablokov is a Teaching Fellow in Russian Studies at the University of Leeds

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Fortress Russia is essential reading for anyone in the USA and Western Europe who wants a greater understanding of how Russia views the world. Yablokov provides key insights into the popular politics within Putin’s Russia, much of it framed by conspiracy theories, at a time of rising populism and fearful nationalism around the world and much of which is keyed to conspiracies surrounding Putin himself. The book helps to reveal the dangerous hall of mirrors in which we live.’
Mark Fenster, author of Conspiracy Theories: Secrecy and Power in American Culture and The Transparency Fix.

‘Ilya Yablokov takes us on a journey through the myriad conspiracy theories that flourish in post-Soviet political culture. The notion of a “subversive agency” is indeed a critical explanatory element for Russian society that gives sense to the profound and violent changes of the last three decades and has been opportunely instrumentalized by the Russian authorities to consolidate their legitimacy. Fortress Russia is a must-read for all those who wish to understand contemporary Russia and its perception of the world.’
Marlene Laruelle, The George Washington University

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