Conspiracy theories run rampant in Russia. They are part of Russian society, deeply entrenched throughout at least much of the 20th century onward, and from what I can gather, are readily consumed by the populace. The biggest creator and perpetuator of conspiracy theories  is the Russian government… no surprise there. One only needs to open any of the government controlled  “news” sites and this is perfectly clear, especially right now. The line between conspiracy theories, “fake news”- a term which I loathe, and consider engineered to deflate the only word which should be used in this case- LIES, has become blurred in Russian society, and of course in our own, as well as in most countries across the globe.

One thing that struck me recently, while wading through Masha Gessen’s The Future is History, is that the “pedophile lobby” as Gessen calls it, features very prominently in Russian conspiracy theories.  (I say “wading” only because Gessen’s book contains so much information, so many facts to follow up on, so many books to add to my reading list, and the content itself is so unbelievable and disturbing- it takes effort and focus to digest it all. To clarify, if you want to develop an understanding for the last 30 years of Russian history, the power vacuum that developed, and the society’s return to authoritarian rule, you must read this book!)

Reading about the perpetuation of the myth of the “pedophile lobby” in dissident circles in Russia, and how at certain times it permeated and took over so much of life there, brought me to theorise on the origins of QAnon, our own “pedophile pizza cult”, and how and why it captivates and captures so many.

First, the parallel evolution of the underground, subversive, and criminal pedophile cults in Russia and the U.S. bear far too much resemblance to be coincidence. The timing of their emergence is curious as well. Between 2005-2010, according to Gessen, Russia saw a surge in the fear of the pedophile lobby by the government and many government funded organisations, thereby perpetuating the same in the general populace, with the government actively promoting the disinformation and fear, and as a result legitimising violence against people who were deemed part of it. According to Gessen, violence could be arbitrary, directed at anyone who was suspect or different (think of the literary examples of Miller’s The Crucible, or It Can’t Happen Here by Sinclair Lewis). According to Gessen dissidents, activists, and gay men and lesbians were primary targets.

In the U.S., extremist, conservative, and right wing “news outlets” began promoting the “pedophile pizza cult” around 2014, adding that it centered on government officials and Washington D.C. It certainly came into the forefront in 2016 during the election campaign when used against Hillary Clinton. Coincidence… or easily managed subversion? It worked in Russia. Russia (that is, Putin) was very much interested in the U.S. presidential race, so why not force it into a U.S. market? Gullible is gullible, no matter what country or continent.

What does it all boil down to? Simply this- disinformation is used to divide people against each other so they are distracted from the corruption, thievery, lies, and criminal acts of governments. Division allows governments to conquer. The pedophile cults of Russia and the U.S. are nothing more than disinformation. Ocham’s razor tells us to look for the simplest reason behind an occurrence- there being not a shred of verifiable evidence on either side of the ocean, the pedophile cults become nothing more than a work of fiction created by the state. In this case Russian disinformation which overtook that country so easily reformulated and fed to a hungry American audience where it was swallowed without the slightest regard to its source or the verity of its content.

To use a familiar family adage, conventional wisdom holds that one should not go grocery shopping while hungry.  These days when all of us force-fed our news, when we are trapped in feedback loops and information bubbles, I would add that we should stay away from listening to, watching, or reading any news when we are looking for answers to the instability and insanity of today’s world. We just might find what we are looking for.