Supporters of the QAnon conspiracy theory and other far-right figures cheered the Russian invasion of Ukraine, calling it a step toward destroying the so-called “cabal.” This is not the first time such figures have praised an international authoritarian action -- they were equally vocal in their support of the military coup in Myanmar in early 2021.
On February 24, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a “special military operation” in Ukraine and Russian troops invaded the country. In response, multiple QAnon figures thanked Putin and cheered the Russian attack, writing that the invasion was “a proper, and NECESSARY deep cleaning of Cabal operations and military assets” and meant that “the Cabal will be exposed in Ukraine and it will be one of the last pieces of the Plan.” (“Cabal” is a reference to a tenet of the conspiracy theory about the power of a supposed cabal of pedophiles around the world.)
QAnon supporters also claimed that Putin was simply invading a new world order “stronghold” and “destroying the money laundering operation” and Ukraine’s “deep state government,” thus “removing the [deep state] players.” They also claimed that the U.S. politicians criticizing the invasion are “deep state players … protecting their interests in Ukraine.”
Much of the QAnon community (along with those on far-right message boards and elsewhere on social media) also spread a baseless and previously debunked pro-Russian conspiracy theory that the invasion was actually a Russian effort to take out American-funded biolabs -- a reference to the claim that the coronavirus was created in a lab. A QAnon influencer claimed this was in order to “possibly derail the future plans of Bill Gates, the WEF and [their] ‘next plandemic.’”
The far-right praise for Putin extended outside of the QAnon community, and multiple people allegedly involved with the January 6, 2021, insurrection at the Capitol weighed in as well. Andrew Torba, the CEO of Gab who lauded the insurrection as it occurred and encouraged people to storm the Senate, called Putin “brilliant” because “Ukraine needs to be liberated and cleansed from the degeneracy of the secular western globalist empire.”
Patrick Howley, a far-right figure who has previously hosted a show on a major QAnon channel, wrote that Russia was “protecting the independence of the breakaway regions, where dissidents have been getting slaughtered for 8 years by the Ukraine-CIA cabal.”
White nationalist Patrick Casey, who was subpoenaed by the House January 6 committee over his connections to the insurrection, wrote that he hoped the invasion would cause “NATO to be humiliated and delegitimized.” And white nationalist Nick Fuentes, who was also subpoenaed by the committee over his ties to the insurrection, wrote that he was “totally rooting for Russia,” adding that the invasion was “the coolest thing to happen” since January 6.
This isn’t the first time the QAnon community and others on the far-right have embraced authoritarian actions undermining democracy. In addition to participating in the January 6 insurrection, many in the QAnon community (along with users of far-right message boards) cheered the military coup in Myanmar and called for similar actions in the United States.