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Opinion
Parmy Olson and Tim Culpan

The Kremlin and QAnon Are Spinning the Same Dangerous Lies

Americans have amplified the Kremlin’s ‘biolab’ conspiracy theory in the internet’s echo chambers.

It’s stormy.

It’s stormy.

Photographer: DIMITAR DILKOFF/AFP

Russia’s disinformation machine has struggled to justify invading Ukraine to the West — but support for that machine has boomeranged back the other way.

A longtime Kremlin accusation that the U.S. is plotting to release chemical weapons from “biolabs” dotted around Ukraine has been amplified by English-speaking followers of the QAnon conspiracy theory over the past two weeks. Peddled for years by Russian officials, the claim could have faded away. Instead, it was revived during the invasion by visitors to alternative website forums and apps, showing how fast, unpredictable and disjointed information warfare has become.