Satire has many effects on its audience, from callous laughter at politicians to seriously thinking about the experienced social and political reality. This thesis explores satire’s effects on those who watch Kukly, a famously banned political satire show in Russia that is only available on YouTube, for now. The research presented here draws on Russia’s cultural, political and historical background as a foundation for viewing issues of censorship and freedoms of expression. Moreover, on a macro-level, Foucault’s theory of power and knowledge is applied to understanding the desire of the Russian state to erase satire. The core of the analysis applies James Scott’s “weapons of the weak” theory to analyze the YouTube comments on the show and to demonstrate that tactics of the “weak” exist in an online sphere, in a context in which they cannot exist publicly in the non-virtual world. The use of satire in this context demonstrates that it plays an important political role, therefore it is erased in Russia, while users in the YouTube comment section react and reflect the way they do using the tools available to them in an increasingly authoritarian state.


Kathryn Elliott

Committee Member

Rhonda Dass

Committee Member

Susan Schalge

Date of Degree




Document Type



Master of Science (MS)

Degree Program/Certificate

Applied Anthropology


Anthropology Department


Social and Behavioral Sciences



Rights Statement

In Copyright