Staunton, April 5 – Many Russians now have more time to go online and one of the things they are seeing there are direct comparisons between what their government is doing for them and what the governments of other countries are doing for their residents. The comparison is not in Russia’s favor.
While the leading Western countries are spending 10 to as much as 20 percent of GDP fighting the pandemic and its economic consequences, the Russian government is spending only 1.2 percent, putting it among the most underdeveloped (newizv.ru/article/general/05-04-2020/tsifry-ne-obmanesh-pravitelstvo-rossii-proigryvaet-vsem-po-meram-pomoschi-naseleniyu).
Simon Kordonsky, a distinguished sociologist at Moscow’s Higher School of Economics, says this difference reflects less the amount of money the various governments have at their disposal than the attitude of these governments toward those who live in their countries (facebook.com/simon.kordonsky/posts/10213350167307826).
In Western democracies, he says, governments view these people as citizens it is responsible for. In Russia, unfortunately, the regime views the population as subjects who should be happy with any crumb it gives them and who will be punished if they dare to ask for more than their rulers deem appropriate to give them.
During the current crisis, he continues, these Russian “subjects” are supposed to sit quietly at home and wait. And they are supposed to be pleased with their fate. After all, the powers that be have promised that everything will be better by the time of the May holidays …