You might know them as one of the world’s most annoying crazes, but could fidget spinners actually be an elaborate form of mind control? Probably not.
A state-run TV network in Russia, however, claimed just that in late June, saying that fidget spinners may be a form of hypnosis that are spreading messages of political opposition. Yep.
The claim was made by a show called Virus on Rossiya 24, a state-owned Russian-language news channel. According to the Guardian, they called fidget spinners an “instrument for zombifying” and a “form of hypnosis”.
“It is a mystery why it has become so popular in Russia right now,” a reporter on the show said. “Who is promoting this to the masses so actively?”
The show went on to suggest that Russia’s opposition parties might be trying to raise money by selling spinners to young people. The New York Times suggests they may be trying to provide a rather shoddy explanation for why so many young people demonstrated in favor of anti-corruption crusader Aleksei Navalny.
He later trolled the government on Tuesday by playing with a fidget spinner while waiting for the verdict of one of his trials, seen below.
The reporter was also shocked to find that a fidget spinner he’d bought from a children’s shop in Moscow contained no Russian text, only English. Ruslan Ostashko, the editor in chief of the Putin-supporting news outlet PolitRussia, told the show that this was a clear attempt to get children over to the political opposition, presumably aligning with Western values.
“Those who understand political technologies, they understand very clearly that this simple thing is controlling the masses,” he said.
Now even Russia’s consumer protection agency, Rospotrebnadzor, has got involved. Yesterday in a statement they said they would investigate the toys.
“There has been an aggressive promotion of so-called spinners among children and teenagers in Russia recently,” they said. “Taking into consideration the anxiety among the community of parents and teachers, Rospotrebnadzor, in cooperation with child health research institutions, will study the effect spinners are having on children, including the possible negative impact.”
We probably don’t need to tell you that fidget spinners are not some elaborate mind control device. They are just the latest craze, following in the footsteps of Yo-Yos and Pokemon Cards and whatnot, that children (and even adults) find fun. But having fun these days, at least in Russia, seems to be a dangerous game.
Check out Rossiya 24’s show on fidget spinners, in Russian of course, below.