Media As a Propaganda Tool in the Russian Occupied Chechnya
The formation of public opinion and image of the pro-Kremlin leadership in the Russian occupied Chechnya has great importance, even excessively. Propaganda in the printed media and audio-visual media has reached such an extent that local transmissions cause antipathy among many residents in Chechnya.
The pro-Russian regime is actively fighting for the minds of residents in their usual aggressively intrusive manner. Religion, social life, national traditions and any topic related to Chechnya become subjects for television programs and news reports. However, traditionally everything begins, continues and ends with Ramzan Kadyrov or his family members.
After watching local broadcasts, television can be divided conditionally into several groups:
- Ramzan opening (school, hospital, mosque, enterprise etc)
- Ramzan edifying (ministers, doctors, teachers, security officials, builders etc… how to perform their Professional duties)
- Ramzan inspecting (towns, villages and other objects)
- Ramzan commits (prayer, check detours and others)
- Ramzan endows (pensioners, sicks or needy, security forces etc… Money, houses, cars, vouchers for free treatment and others)
- Ramzan punishing (officials, wrong mullahs, alcoholics, drug addicts, etc)
- Ramzan meeting (delegations from Arab countries, officials from Moscow, guests from different regions, Gerard Depardieu, Steven Seagal, Jean-Claude Van Damme and other world stars)
- Ramzan marking (secular and religious holidays, birthdays of family and people from his inner circle, and other celebrations)
- Ramzan entertained (box with his ministers in the ring, dump them into snow, control model planes, etc)
- Ramzan threatening (militants, extremists, terrorists, bribe-takers and other enemies of society)
The list goes on.
And in Chechnya, to participate in Instagram and ask for Ramzan’s assistance has become another fashion. People ask for money, cars, the latest telephones, apartments, jobs, money for free treatment of marriage. And all of his aides become a story for the local news or his personal blog.
All heralded things give the message that the pro-Kremlin regime has a desire to make people’s lives better, more worthy and beautiful.
Where will you be allocated a thousand dollars if your children born on the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad? Even leaders of the Islamic states have not done this, but in Chechnya, it has already become a “tradition”.
The pro-Russian Chechen government honors all secular things along with Islam. In the new year, the head of pro-Kremlin regime, dressed in a Santa Claus costume for the last meeting of his government in 2013. His ministers were greatly encouraged, especially when the camera was directed at them, they recited poems and sang songs for Ramzan.
Living by the Russian constitution and guided by Shariah, a part of the population doesn’t understand such views and doesn’t accept them. On December 31, 2013, in the village of Avtury, a local from the village mosque appealed to the villagers urging them not to put up Christmas trees because Islam forbids it. On the same day, the announcer was abducted by the pro-Russian regime’s militia. The very next day, on January 1, eleven more young men were abducted from their houses, all were friends of the first abductee. Three days later, they were punished for 10 days under administrative arrest and were released on January 14. However, when they returned to their homes, none of them had beards anymore.
After New Years, the Olympic Torch arrived. A jubilant crowd, people from the staff of ministries, schools, colleges, universities were exhibited on the route of the torch which was more than 16 km. When Ramzan Kadyrov and his youngest son lit the Olympic torch in Akhmed Khadji Stadium, it was the culmination of festivities. In all the civilized world such an honor usually is given to the most outstanding athletes. But for the sake of big politics such minor things can be forgotten.
But in general, life in Chechnya is totally different. Even though reports and news focuses on the improvement, development, growth, improvement, stabilization, and so on, the real problems of the people are chronic unemployment, poor education and health services, widespread bribery, oppression, mass exodus from the country and other negative things which are usually hushed up.
People in the Russian occupied Chechen Republic of Ichkeria have gotten used to Ramzan’s eccentricities and do not pay any attention to them. Many respond against the official tele-propaganda which is far from the real situation, through the only available means: switching the channel. Because in today’s Chechnya, no one has opportunity to protest such things.
BBC Russia – 08.02.2014
*Text was translated by Waynakh Online and edited by Michael Capobianco