MOSCOW- A new poll from the Levada Center shows that 76 percent of Muscovites say they are “fed up” with the recent outbreak of giant spiders in the capital.
Another 15 percent said they view the giant spiders as “overall negative,” 8 percent said they hadn’t noticed any giant spiders, and one percent of respondents said they were “optimistic” in regards to the giant spiders.
Levada’s results closely resemble those of the state pollster VTsIOM, which found that two thirds of Muscovites viewed the giant spider epidemic as “mostly negative.” A second poll showed that among the various improvements Muscovites would like to see in the capital in 2017, “giant spiders” came in dead last.
Concern about the abnormally large arachnids, some of which are nearly one meter tall, has been growing ever since they were first sighted in Pushkin Square on Jan. 3. However, the Kremlin denies that the spiders pose a serious threat to residents of the capital.
“This hysteria about giant spiders is just another example of a politically-motivated information attack from our so-called Western partners,” Presidential Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters as he nervously kicked a large spider away from his podium.
Russian state-run media has so far avoided any coverage of the giant spider outbreak as well. On the Sunday news program News of the Week with Dmitry Kiselyov, there was no mention of giant spiders. Instead, there was a 17-minute story about unusually large insects in Ukraine. Astute viewers quickly took to social media to point out that the footage supposedly shot in Ukraine had actually come from the Amazon jungle.
In spite of official denials, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev issued a decree to take “preventative measures against arachnids or insects of unusual size.”
“Pursuant to the decree, retailers will be ordered to halt the sale of spider-themed products for no less than thirty days,” Medvedev told members of the cabinet in an emergency meeting.
Already retailers have voiced concerns that the decree’s terms are too general. Several bookstore chains have sent letters to consumer watchdog Rospotrebnadzor, asking if the ban includes media such as Spider-Man movies and comic books.
In the meantime, Moscow’s Ministry for Emergency Situations has advised citizens to avoid the giant spiders at all costs, and if this is not possible, carry a rolled up magazine with which to ward off the arachnids should they turn aggressive.