Russian police don’t take kindly to opposition protesters – even if they’re 5cm high and made of plastic.
Police in the Siberian city of Barnaul have asked prosecutors to investigate the legality of a recent protest that saw dozens of small dolls – teddy bears, Lego men, South Park figurines – arranged to mimic a protest, complete with signs reading: “I’m for clean elections” and “A thief should sit in jail, not in the Kremlin“.
“Political opposition forces are using new technologies to carry out public events – using toys with placards at mini-protests,” Andrei Mulintsev, the city’s deputy police chief, said at a press conference this week, according to local media. “In our opinion, this is still an unsanctioned public event.”
Activists set up the display after authorities repeatedly rejected their request to hold a sanctioned demonstration of the kind held in Moscow to protest disputed parliamentary elections results and Vladimir Putin‘s expected return to the presidency in a March vote.
Passersby admired the display with giggles, but police took it more seriously, examining its details and writing down each placard.
“The authorities’ attempt to limit citizens’ rights to express their position has become absurd,” said Lyudmila Alexandrova, a 26-year-old graduate student and protest organiser. “We wanted to hyperbolise this attempt and show the absurdity and farce of officials’ struggle with their own people.”
They are not the first. Russia‘s Blue Buckets group, formed to protest officials’ wanton flouting of traffic rules, have run across government cars while wearing buckets on their heads, drawing the state’s ire.
Strange Random Doll Quote:
“You know you’ve made it when you’ve been moulded in miniature plastic. But you know what children do with Barbie dolls – it’s a bit scary, actually.” – Cate Blanchett (Australian Actress. b.1969 Melbourne, Victoria, Australia)
- Pussy Riot against Vladimir Putin (osocio.org)
- Toying with the right to protest: police try to ban Russian doll rally (independent.co.uk)
- Russia | Pussy Riot Rock Group Arrested Protesting Putin & Sex Tourism (oblogdeeoblogda.wordpress.com)
- Moscow police arrest 2 at protest (seattletimes.nwsource.com)
- Moscow rally halted amid arrests (bbc.co.uk)
- Police arrest anti-Putin protesters in Moscow – Times of India (timesofindia.indiatimes.com)
- You: The Law Of Putin’s Jungle (thedailybeast.com)