“The rule is so hammered into the heads of all employees of Sobyanin’s agitprop campaign, that they even make jokes about it,” writes Kovalev. The report includes a photograph of a cake which has the words “Three Moscows, Three Sobyanins” spelled out in red icing, which was supposedly taken at an editorial party at a regional newspaper.

Citing leaks from Moscow regional journalists, Kovalev writes that editorial staff are sent weekly instructions, outlining which topics need to be covered and how.