Governments, especially in the post-Soviet world, have been infinitely resourceful at retaining control over society. Still back in Soviet times, they understood how to avert the bad press that politically-motivated charges brought. Why court unwelcome international attention with arrests for protests when charges of rape, drug possession, theft, etc., are so very easily orchestrated?
The thinking is devious, but not incorrect. Even if suspicions are aroused, those accustomed to a law-based system will hesitate to assume the role of judge when they don’t know all the details.
Those who know of the rule of law only from books will understand very quickly that it’s better not to stick your neck out. They know that where needed the prosecutor, the police, tax inspectorate or other regulatory bodies will prove endless malleable. And Lady Justice is conveniently blind, deaf and dumb.