Staunton, July 8 – Rather than just putting out fake news to boost itself, the Russian government is using various techniques to prevent the publication of unflattering stories in advance of the Duma elections in September apparently concerned that any “bad” news will be played up by its opponents, the Project Research Center says.
The Kremlin’s chief focus is on statistics about inflation, unemployment, foreign trade, and the indebtedness of its citizens, figures that once reported often become the subject of discussion online by regime opponents (proekt.media/narrative/dannye-rosstata/trtrussian.com/novosti-rossiya/v-rossii-sokratyat-chislo-negativnyh-novostej-pered-vyborami-v-gosdumu-5989946).
Project analysts say that some data scheduled to be released has not been and may not be until after the vote if then. Now, they says, statistics will be published only “once a week, on Wednesday evenings,” with the most sensitive data issued only “once a month on Fridays.” This schedule is intended to reduce attention even when the data are published.
This arrangement has been pushed by officials in the Presidential Administration; but it may be backfiring on the authorities. It is attracting the attention of mainstream media outlets which depend on this data and see these restrictions as undermining their ability to do their jobs (finanz.ru/novosti/aktsii/statistiku-rosstata-poprobuyut-spryatat-ot-rossiyan-1030589922).