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In Russia, a Conspiracy Rehash Blames US for Coronavirus

A member of staff prepares an Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine at a mass vaccination centre in Epsom, England on January 11, 2021. RFE-Hungarian
Anatoly Wasserman

Anatoly Wasserman

Ukrainian-born Russian political commentator

“The experts openly said: These are not different options, but successive steps to conquer the world and take it under the unified strict control of corporations, elected by no one and not responsible to anyone.”


On January 9, Ukrainian-born Russian political commentator Anatoly Wasserman posted on his blog, hosted by the Russian TV channel REN TV, the allegation that a 2010 Rockefeller Foundation report may prove that the COVID-19 pandemic was planned.

“During the pandemic, transnational business have earned trillions of dollars, and shifted their debts onto our shoulders,” Wasserman wrote. “In this connection, an eleven-year-old document signed by very familiar names is curious.”

Wasserman was referring to a report titled “Scenarios for the Future of Technology and International Development,” and claimed that it outlined possible reactions to a global pandemic.

In describing the report, Wasserman wrote: “There are four options for responding to a dangerous pandemic: ‘Lockstep’ – tough state control, causing public protest; ‘Clever Together’ – coordination of successful strategies for solving urgent and old problems; ‘Hack Attack’ – against the background of weakening states, crime expands and dangerous technological innovations appear, especially in digital; ‘Smart Scramble’ – a fragmented, depressive world where communities and individuals survive locally, relying on situational solutions to a growing set of problems.”

Wasserman suggested these scenarios are part of a plot to establish a new world order.

“The experts openly said: These are not different options, but successive steps to conquer the world and take it under the unified strict control of corporations, elected by no one and not responsible to anyone,” he wrote.

Wasserman’s claims were also reported in Moskovsky Komsomolets, a major Russian newspaper.

In making this false claim, which has been debunked previously, Wasserman is resurfacing an old conspiracy theory.

Rather than laying out a plan for world conquest, the Rockefeller Foundation report described its goal as being “to explore the many ways in which technology and development could co-evolve — could both push and inhibit each other — in the future, and then to begin to examine what those possible alternative paths may imply for the world’s poor and vulnerable populations.”

Only one of the Rockefeller Foundation report’s scenarios, “Lockstep,” involves a global pandemic. That is not as “curious,” as Wasserman maintains.In fact, the report was published just after the H1N1 swine flu pandemic of 2009 and, in hypothesizing a future pandemic, referred to H1N1:“In 2012, the pandemic that the world had been anticipating for years finally hit. Unlike 2009’s H1N1, this new influenza strain—originating from wild geese — was extremely virulent and deadly.”

The SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus is believed to have originated in bats, not birds. And other aspects of today’s coronavirus pandemic don’t play out like the Rockefeller Foundation scenario predicted.

For instance, the Rockefeller Foundation scenario described governments reacting to the hypothetical outbreak with strict and authoritarian measures. While there have certainly been similar examples during the COVID-19 pandemic, there also are cases where governments failed to take rigorous steps to stop the virus from spreading.

In the Rockefeller Foundation scenario, the hardest hit countries were in Central America, Africa and Southeast Asia, while the U.S. restricted travel to those countries in an effort to prevent the spread at home. However, in the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. has had far more reported deaths than any other country.

It is unclear what led Wasserman to the Rockefeller Foundation report. However, in July 2020, the fact-checking site featured a story tackling a then-fresh conspiracy theory circulating on social media that cited the same document.

The creators of that hoax went further than Wasserman, by fabricating quotes to make the report seem far more prescient in respect to the 2020 pandemic. It also added references to conspiracy theories such as “5G radiation.”

The hoaxsters dubbed their theory“ Operation Lockstep,” implying that it was some kind of plan. In fact, the words “Operation Lockstep” do not appear in the real report (nor does the word “operation”).

Anatoly Wasserman is a Ukrainian-born political commentator who left Ukraine due to his opposition to the post-Maidan government. He was granted Russian citizenship by President Vladimir Putin in 2016. He has openly stated that he opposes Ukrainian state sovereignty and considers Ukraine a part of Russia.

Wasserman hosts a TV program on Ren TV and has worked as a contributor to various Russian media outlets, including the state-owned RIA Novosti. He also maintains a YoutTube channel with 230,000 subscribers.