Staunton, March 12 – The coronavirus pandemic is continuing and even intensifying the direction the world has been moving in as a result of the efforts of Trump, Brexit and Putin: the destruction of the network of globalization and human contacts across borders and the increased role of governments and security agencies, according to Sergey Medvedev.
“The consequences of this pandemic will be long and structural,” the Russian commentator argues. “Before our eyes, borders are returning and the Shengen world is in fact being destroyed,” thus continuing “the conservative, anti-modernization trend of world politics of the last decade directed at re-nationalization, physical security, institutions close to the land, and the undermining of international ones” (newtimes.ru/articles/detail/191879).
“It is obvious,” he continues, “that the pandemic is a shock to democracy and a strong support for authoritarianism and nationalism.” In Russia, it has made Putin’s moves to greater authoritarianism and isolationism far easier. It hasn’t weakened him as some assume but rather generated more support for him: “one doesn’t change horses in the middle of a stream.”
“And even when the peak of the epidemic passes, the conquests of authoritarianism and nationalism will remain, and the world economy (likely mired in recession) and international institutions will not very soon return to their former levels of trust, openness and interconnectedness.”
Instead, Medvedev says, “the structures of quarantine and the new authority of the security organs and sanitary control will also remain in place – because as many warn we are only entering an era of pandemics, called forth by global warming, the impact of humans on nature (or biological war, depending on what you believe) and the next coronavirus perhaps is not too far in the future.”
This explains the Olympian calm in the Kremlin, the very people who by their behavior at Sochi have removed Russia from the Olympic movement.