Monday, March 30, 2020

Coronavirus Pandemic Creating Some Winners in Russian Economy and Politics, Savelyev Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, March 27 – The coronavirus pandemic has inflicted huge losses on many people and institutions in Russia; but in any such situation, some people are able to benefit from what are the hardships of others, Dmitry Savelyev says. And that is clearly the case in Russian business and Russian politics. 

            The winners in the economy are quite obvious, the URA commentator says, although those in politics may be more important and even cast a longer shadow on the country (

            The big business winners are those who offer online services such as educational programming and sales, according to Dmitry Abazalov, founder of the Center for Strategic Communications.  Those offering computer games are also doing well, often providing them for a free initial period in the expectation that people will want to keep them and subscribe.

            Bloggers in contrast are doing less well, Abzalov says, because while the number of people visiting their sites has dramatically increased given that people are being forced to stay at home, advertisers have cut back their spending; and in many cases, it is advertising that is the basis of the bloggers’ economic model.

            The impact on restaurants divides between those who provide only in-house services who are losing money and may face bankruptcy and those who either have always provided pickup or delivery services or have started to do so since the onset of the pandemic. Many who make the change may not go back.

            All bricks and mortar retailers have lost money, and those in shopping centers have been particularly hard hit as there is little pedestrian traffic. Their business is now going to online companies.  And another big winner is the pharmaceutical sector because people are buying medicines or one kind or another in hopes of protecting themselves.

            But among the biggest winners may be those sectors which produce goods without reliance on imported parts, such as the food industry where little is imported and Russian automobile manufacturers who do not import that many parts.

            In politics, Abzalov says, those who are seen to have taken dramatic action are gaining ground on those who have been more cautious; and those who are helping people cope with the disease are doing especially well. Indeed, he suggests, in upcoming elections, parties may want to nominate doctors as their candidates to exploit such feelings.

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