'Unhealthy' Spider-Man toys aren't welcome in Chechnya

Seeking to promote the republic's history and values, officials in Chechnya reportedly plan to produce action figures to replace "unhealthy" Western imports like Spider-Man and the Transformers.

"They have a negative impact on the child's psyche," Chechnya's children's rights commissioner is quoted as saying. "We therefore proposed refusing Western toys."

Citing the Russian government newspaper Rossiskaya Gazeta, The Moscow Times reports that prototypes of nine figures based on Chechen historical and folk heroes are expected to be presented by the end of the month, with 10,000 toys going into production in May. Their release will follow the debut of new television cartoons and literature spotlighting national heroes.

Some of the figures will be given to preschool children for free.

"[Our] kids are becoming separated from their roots," Commissioner Khamzat Khirakhmatov said. "They are trying to imitate a foreign culture. It's an alarming situation. Unfortunately, these figments of unhealthy imaginations, including monsters, vampires, Transformers, Spider-Man figures, enjoy widespread popularity among kids and their parents."

Offering some context, BBC News notes that the move "coincides with a broad rise in Russian nationalism, partly encouraged by the authorities, amid strained relations with the West over the crisis in Ukraine."

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