World Europe 20 Jul 2017 In Russia, fidget sp ...

In Russia, fidget spinners take a political turn

AGENCIES
Published Jul 20, 2017, 3:40 am IST
Updated Jul 20, 2017, 3:40 am IST
Moscow to investigate the toy amid claims Opposition using it to lure supporters.
Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny posted a video of himself sitting in a court playing with a fidget spinner.
 Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny posted a video of himself sitting in a court playing with a fidget spinner.

Russian state TV has said that the Opposition could use fidget spinners for political gains and try to lure children with the popular toys. Russia’s consumer rights watchdog has launched an investigation after the claims.

The watchdog Rospotrebnadzor said it had noted “the aggressive promotion of so-called spinners around children and teenagers” and was aware of concern from parents and teachers. It said it would ask scientists to “study the effects of the influence of spinners on children’s health, including possible negative consequences”.

 

The announcement came after state-owned Rossia 24 TV channel in late June devoted a five-minute segment to spinners. The reporter pointed out that the spinners were being sold at the unauthorised Opposition rally on June 12. Spinners are also being advertised in highly politicised video blogs, the reporter said. “Do Opposition politicians want to have something to connect with the toy’s main audience?” he asked. 

He noted that the spinners might be an attempt to “zombify people” so that they could be manipulated, the New York Times reported.

“In such a manner, our opposition is luring the youth,” Ruslan Ostashko, the editor in chief of a pro-Kremlin website, PolitRussia.ru, told Rossiya 24. “Those who understand political technologies, they understand very clearly that this simple thing is controlling the masses.”

Meanwhile, Kremlin critic and anti-corruption crusader Alexei Navalny never one to miss an opportunity to mock the government or its suspicions, posted a video of himself that showed him spinning a small device while awaiting the verdict in one of his recent trials, the Times wrote. 

Mr Navalny was jailed following a crackdown by police at the June anti-corruption protest in Moscow. He has expressed outrage over plan to to investigate the toy. 

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