Concrete evidence that the West does not have a monopoly on gullible fools.
The question is, or becomes, are citizens in democracies or in totalitarian regimes more prone to dissociative conspiratorial narratives? Intuition suggests that it may be the totalitarian states that generate more compliant idiots but the greater freedoms of the West leave people as vulnerable by choice to such implausible fantasies.
Interesting to note that there is always some selfish misanthrope ready to capitalise on the insecurities and ignorance of large numbers of people. What unites totalitarian East and democratic West here is that most of the narrative puppetry is being seeded and orchestrated by the East because it is the unrepentantly autocratic tyrants that have more political capital and ideological self-validation to gain by the persistence of such self-propagating fallacies.
As an aside – people who cling to such narrative fabrications tend to do so as a function of their failures to generate sufficiently complex and sustainable world views of their own. Whether by choice or by accident, these people bring great confusion upon themselves and the world. The extent to which they are being manipulated is quite opaque to them because, like many other systems of belief, it is the reflexive participation in a game of performative self-identity that generates more currency and utility for them than does any acknowledgement of, or concession to, absent truth values in their unsustainably absurd assertions.