Staunton, May 26 – One of the more insidious forms of media manipulation employed by the Putin regime and its agents in place is to make a feint in one direction that people welcome while pursuing repressive moves they wouldn’t. The first is guaranteed to spark hopes and headlines, but the latter is the clearer vector of what is happening.
This weekend, Yunus-Bek Yevkurov’s regime engaged in just such a sleight of hand, releasing two prisoners on their own recognizance, getting the headlines he hoped for, while extending the detention of five others which to no one’s surprise garnered less notice (fortanga.org/2019/05/pyaterym-uchastnikam-mitinga-prodlili-arest-dvoih-vypustili-iz-sizo-pod-podpisku-o-nevyezde/, kavkaz-uzel.eu/articles/335931/, zamanho.com/?p=8254 and kavkazr.com/a/29963691.html).
Meanwhile, in another display of the way in which Yevkurov is following the Putin playbook to the letter, he assembled what has been trumpeted as his “Social Observers Commission” to discuss any problems in relations between his regime and Ingush society (zamanho.com/?p=8247).,
The only problem, as the Zamanho news agency reports, is that the members of Yevkurov’s commission consist with a single exception of people whom most Ingush have never heard of. It is thus a Potemkin village-type enterprise, for show rather than a real consultative body.
The only real rights activist on the group is Ayup Tsurov, who heads the committee on MIAs. The rest are officials Yevkurov controls. What makes this especially disturbing, Zamanho says, is that only a few years ago, the composition and the effectiveness of this commission was very different.
It included a wide range of publicly recognized NGO leaders and it took positive actions. But since 2017, the former have been excluded, and the latter almost certainly have become impossible. That happened on orders from Moscow and occurred in all other federal subjects as well (novayagazeta.ru/articles/2016/10/22/70270-smotryaschie-ot-onk).
All one can now expect, Zamanho concludes, is “the imitation of stormy activity,” just as the various institutions in Ingushetia and elsewhere within the Russian Federation engage in exactly the same eyewash.