Fidget spinners — they were briefly the most popular toy in America, but they’ve already begun to fade away, according to FiveThirtyEight.
That’s just in the U.S., however. In Russia, state media outlets are just beginning to talk about the little pronged toys. And while fidget spinners were criticized in th U.S. as annoying and potentially unsafe for small children, some Russian commentators seem to think they present a much more sinister danger.
According to Newsweek, multiple segments about the dangers of fidget spinners have run on Russian state TV recently. These segments have had less to do with easily breakable parts and are more concerned with the idea that fidget spinners could be a tool of anti-government protesters.
A fidget spinner “makes a person impressionable for manipulation,” one TV host warned, according to Newsweek translations.
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“Probably it is no coincidence that they started selling the spinners at events by the non-systemic opposition,” the host continued, referring to protests against the Kremlin.
As Mashable reports, these translations have also been confirmed by Alexey Kovalev, a journalist in Russia.
The report, which aired on Rossiya 24, a state TV station, was introduced by a clip that emerged online in late June of Russian mechanics who welded three cars together to make a giant fidget spinner, according to CNET. So clearly not everyone in Russia is afraid of fidget spinners.
In fact, the inventor of the fidget spinner is an American: Catherine Hettinger of Orlando, Florida, according to Time. However, she came up with the idea for the spinner during a trip to Israel and has actually not made any money off their booming popularity. Her patent on the idea expired in 2005.