By Tim Hardy


(Image: Ivan Krupchik)

In a small town in Siberia in 2012 people defied the ban on protest by using toys protesting the election fraud.

The Kremlin calls the police chief in this little town of Siberia and says, “This must stop.”  So now the protesters, when they apply for the next protest, which is on Thursday, they get a ban signed by the chief of police for the demonstration of one hundred Lego soldiers, thirty toy cars, fifty Lego toys are banned because the toys are not citizens of Russia and only citizens of Russia can protest.

By doing so Putin, a man notorious for his machismo, was made to look as if he was afraid of toys.

The difference between simple political satire and the laughtivism is the framework of dilemma action.  And this is effective because someone was putting the opponent into a lose-lose scenario.  So if they let toys protest, everybody will see the toy protest, but if they ban toy protests then they are afraid of toys.

Srđa Popović, leader of the student movement Otpor! that helped topple Serbian dictator Slobodan Milošević, explained the role of humour as part of a wider strategy of non-violent revolution in a talk last week organised by PS21. Key takeaways and a link to the full transcript are here.