US media is reporting on the “Golden Billion,” a theory said to be increasingly espoused by Russian President Vladamir Putin. According to the National Public Radio report, the Golden Billion refers to a conspiracy theory based on the notion that there are one billion Western global elites that seek to control the world’s wealth and resources:
November 21, 2022 Moscow — As the war in Ukraine approaches the nine-month mark, Western governments have repeatedly accused Russia of imperialist expansionism, nuclear blackmail, weaponizing food, energy and winter — and a host of other hostilities that put the welfare of millions at risk. Yet there’s an increasingly common counternarrative in Moscow that argues it is the West instead that intends to subject the masses to misery. Welcome to the “golden billion.” An idea that first emerged in the twilight years of the Soviet Union, the golden billion is a conspiracy theory that posits a cabal of 1 billion global elites seeks to hoard the world’s wealth and resources, leaving the rest of the planet to suffer and starve. For years a fringe theory in Russia, the idea has been increasingly espoused by President Vladimir Putin and other top Kremlin officials as an attack line against the West amid a breakdown in relations over the conflict in Ukraine. “The model of total domination of the so-called golden billion is unfair. Why should this golden billion of the globe dominate over everyone and impose its own rules of behavior?” Putin asked in a speech last July. Putin went on to describe the alleged plot as “racist and neocolonial in its essence” — a way for the West to divide the world into superior and “second-rate” nations. The Kremlin dusts off an old plot Theories — and conspiracies — about economic inequality and the cut-throat competition for global wealth and resources are nothing new. But analysts say the Kremlin has increasingly exploited the golden billion theory to deflect the notion of Russia as isolated and alone amid what Moscow calls its “special military operation” in Ukraine. Instead of Russia facing international condemnation over its actions in Ukraine, the theory attempts to place Moscow at the center of a global majority chafing at Western liberal values and political and economic dominance. Never mind that Russia considers itself a global superpower and is routinely accused of using its own energy resources as a foreign policy sledgehammer.
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In January 2022, the Global Influence Operations Report (GIOR) reported on a somewhat overlooked speech by Vladimir Putin, last described by a Russian academic as the “first major and strong call for reinventing Russian ideology for Russia and the world.” An Israeli NGO concluded that the speech could be viewed as an ideological manifesto that tried to put Russia back in the center of the world’s political map. In October, we reported another of Putin’s speeches announcing the annexation of four Ukrainian republics. In that speech, Putin said:
Western countries have been repeating for centuries that they bring freedom and democracy to other peoples. Everything is exactly the opposite: instead of democracy – suppression and exploitation; instead of freedom – enslavement and violence.
The Global National Conservative (GNCA) alliance is described in a GIOR report as follows:
Russian President PUTIN has expressed an interest in Russia becoming the ideological center of a new global conservative alliance, and European far-right leaders have taken pro-Russian positions based on a similar ideology. Hungary is at the center of a developing alliance between European far-right nationalists and American conservatives that Russia could potentially exploit for use in information warfare. This alliance operates under the rubric of “National Conservatism,” centered on national sovereignty, cultural identity, and opposition to global institutions and representing a potentially radical change for the US conservative movement away from long-held Reagan-era philosophies.
Read the full report here.