This article analyzes framing strategies and mobilization in the annual youth “monstrations” (Monstratsiia) in Russian cities. Examining the collective identity strategies and framing processes in these marches from their inception in 2004 and onwards to 2016, the article suggests that the monstrations represent an apolitical undercurrent, which explores the boundaries between articulation and politics in the context of authoritarian rule. Framing absurdity has a strategic aim: to derail traditional hybrid-regime defeat-proofing strategies by amplifying the inherent protest-code. Acting against monstrators, the regime becomes part of a performance of the absurd. This speaks to the centrality of culture for creative framing processes. Framing processes can transcend and defuse state-sponsored mobilization by utilizing punctuated, absurd and disruptive frames to challenge major cultural codes in Putin’s official nationalism.