Staunton, August 16 – Before the Taliban victory in Afghanistan drove everything else out of the headlines, the Russian media was completely obsessed with the mistreatment of ethnic Russians in Central Asia and criticism of Russian policy by foreign diplomats. Because this was taking place during a campaign, most viewed this an ethnic mobilization by the Kremlin.
But this propaganda campaign has been in fact a false mobilization, Prague commentator Kharun Sidorov says, because it was not designed to attract support for the ruling party and its solutions to the problems of one nation but rather to distract the attention of that nation from the failure of that party to offer any solutions at all (idelreal.org/a/31414225.html).
There are several reasons for that conclusion. First of course, the propaganda effort focused on specific cases rather than patterns and did not include any suggestions as to how those in power would address these problems other than to complain about them. Genuine ethnic mobilization would require the latter, and the Kremlin hasn’t provided it.
Second, this media circus occurred at precisely the time the Putin regime was cracking down on opposition figures like Aleksey Navalny and Roman Yuneman who have not only offered solutions for such problems but pointed out the obvious, that the regime is unwilling to adopt any of these solutions and so the problems will continue.
And third, this ethnic mobilization is false for an underlying reason. In a multi-national state which Russia is par excellence, such campaigns are possible only if they are conducted with careful thought rather than emotionalism and if those involved are prepared for “dialogue, compromises, and interaction,” none of which is true of the Putin regime.
This propaganda campaign then may distract the attention of some – that is clearly the intention of its authors – but it will not mobilize anyone to vote one way or another in the upcoming election. What it will do is further exacerbate ethnic feelings and make relations within Russia and between Russia and other countries ever more fraught.