The Russian international media outlet Russia Today (RT) has been widely accused in the Western world of producing government propaganda and conspiracy theories. This book explores for the first time the role that conspiracy theories actually play in the network’s broadcasts.
More than this, it provides the first ever study of how the Russian government engages with conspiracy theories in the international arena, with a particular focus on the use of conspiracy theories as an instrument of public diplomacy. RT was established in 2005 to represent Russia to the world, and to present a Russian perspective on global events. Whilst some of RT’s more overtly conspiratorial output has been taken off the air, the network remains a source of significant concern for governments and intelligence agencies in Europe and North America. Now, more than ever, policymakers, journalists, academics, and intelligence services alike seek to understand the role RT plays in the Russian government’s foreign policy agenda. The authors use RT as a case study to investigate how global communication technologies influence the development and dissemination of conspiracy theories, which are also an important component of the post-Soviet Russian intellectual landscape and Kremlin-sponsored political discourse.
This book will appeal to students and scholars of Politics and International Relations, Russian Studies, and Conspiracy Theories.
Table of Contents
Introduction: The Curious Case of RT
1. Conspiracy Theories, the Evolution of Communication, and the Contemporary Global Media Environment
2. ‘Question More’? The Kremlin’s Strategy Behind RT
3. The World According to the Truthseekers
4. Conspiracy and Democracy: Election Meddling and #TrumpRussia
5. Conspiracy and Crisis: Narrative Holes and the Skripal Affair
6. RT in the Post-Pandemic World
Ilya Yablokov is a Lecturer in Journalism and Media at the University of Sheffield, UK. His areas of expertise are Russian media and international broadcasting, Russian politics, conspiracy theories, conspiracy theories, mis and disinformation campaigns as well as problems of censorship and self-censorship in today’s media.
Precious N Chatterje-Doody is a Lecturer in Politics and International Studies at the Open University, UK. Her areas of expertise are Russian foreign and security policy, soft power, information politics, and political communication.