Staunton, April 24 – The economic shock most Russians are experiencing, one that is leaving tens of millions without the ability to buy food and other basics, recalls the shock in 1992, Sergey Shelin says, but there are some major differences: those in power can’t claim inexperience or lack of resources, and the population has fewer hopes in them or the market.
Only seven percent say the government is doing enough to support ordinary people, the Rosbalt commentator says; with 45 percent saying the regime’s actions have been insufficient and 38 percent more saying that the powers aren’t doing anything at all. And 69 percent say they don’t believe official data on the epidemic (rosbalt.ru/blogs/2020/04/24/1840317.html).
And this shock is hitting them hard: people in all age groups are cutting back on just about everything, sometimes because of quarantine restrictions but “no less because of a lack of money.” They are angry, he says; and their anger will only grow as the stay-at-home order and economic shut down continues.
Although Shelin does not mention the possibility in this article, ever more officials are predicting that people will go into the streets if the situation continues for another month and there are no prospects for the future. And that protest will involve not just ordinary people but small businesses as well (sibreal.org/a/30570584.html).
Other developments on the increasingly conjoined pandemic and economic crisis today include:
· Economic Development Minister Maksim Reshetnikov says that Russia is currently losing 100 billion rubles (1.6 billion US dollars) a day as a result of the limitations that the pandemic has required officials to impose (sobkorr.org/news/5EA3208395BC7.html).
· Deutsche Bank says that Moscow now has reserves that will last for only two years if the price of Urals oil stays at the level of 15 US dollars a barrel (ehorussia.com/new/node/20670).
· Coronavirus infections and deaths are now spreading among Russian Orthodox clergy even in Moscow where Patriarch Kirill has restricted church operations (ng.ru/faith/2020-04-23/1_7852_religion.html).
· Russian consumption of illegal drugs has dropped since the crisis began in large part because the places where people purchased them have been closed (newsru.com/russia/24apr2020/rudrugs.html).
· Federation Council Speaker Valentina Matviyenko says that Russians should “put out of their heads” any plans to travel abroad during the next year. She says this isn’t a tragedy, but for many Russians, the ability to travel freely abroad was one of the most important gains after the USSR collapsed (finanz.ru/novosti/aktsii/matvienko-posovetovala-rossiyanam-vykinut-iz-golovy-poezdki-za-granicu-1029126572 and meduza.io/short/2020/04/24/kogda-rossiyane-smogut-vyehat-iz-strany-otvechaet-valentina-matvienko).
· Because of the economic crisis brought on by the pandemic, falling oil prices and the collapse of international trade, Moscow is under enormous pressure to lift the stay-at-home restrictions it has imposed. But Russian officials who oversee consumer protection warn that any lifting of restrictions now will lead to “explosive growth” in the number of people infected and the number of deaths (sobkorr.org/news/5EA3294A43624.html).