CIA plotting 'regime change' using rubber ducks, claims Russian city

Alec Luhn, moscow

Local authorities in Russia have refused to allow an opposition rally on the grounds that activists' rubber duck toys are a symbol of regime change created by Western intelligence agencies.

Supporters of Alexei Navalny, who wants to challenge Vladimir Putin for the presidency, filed a complaint after they were denied permission for a rally by the city of Izhevsk, the home of the Kalashnikov rifle factory 700 miles east of Moscow.

The city argued in court that the demonstration was illegal under a law against “mass riots,” citing an article about rubber ducks by the pro-Kremlin website, according to photographs posted by opposition activist Timofei Klabukov.

The squeaky toys have become a jokey accoutrement at rallies after a drone fly-over by Mr Navalny discovered a house for ducks at an extravagant mansion allegedly owned by prime minister Dmitry Medvedev.

The video about Mr Medvedev's real estate holdings has been viewed more than 24 million times and sparked anti-corruption protests in March and June.

In the article's telling, the demonstrators' rubber ducks are not a harmless internet meme, but rather a “symbol of coups, revolutions and attempts to illegally overthrow the government”.

“The duck was created in these same Western intelligence centres and realised through the well-known foundations of [George] Soros, [John] Rockefeller and others,” the article quoted Dragan Stanojevic, a pro-Russian activist in Serbia, as saying.

“Through them they select certain opposition activists, through which they work people up and organise the destabilisation of countries with the goal of overthrowing governments dissimilar to the West.”

Navalny activists in Izhevsk said the court declined to accept the article as evidence., a Kiev-based group fighting Russian disinformation, has debunked several articles about supposed Ukrainian atrocities by, which is based in Crimea.

At least half a dozen Russian cities have refused permission for events in support of Mr Navalny, who has been touring the country stumping for next year's presidential vote. Electoral authorities have said he can't run due to a controversial embezzlement conviction against him.

Mr Putin's approval ratings remain high, and he is widely expected to run for re-election.

Looks like Putin's cronies are sweatin' a li'l.
Who said there's been no payback ?