Staunton, May 21 – There is near universal agreement that the world after the pandemic passes will be different than the one that existed before it, and many Russian commentators argue that the coronavirus will not only undermine Vladimir Putin because of the weaknesses in his system it has revealed but even threaten the territorial integrity of the Russian Federation.
But not everyone believes that. St. Petersburg commentator Marina Shapovalova is one of them, and she argues that the Russians as a result of their fears will turn even more to Putin and thus he will find himself in an even stronger position after the coronavirus than he did before (gorod-812.ru/kovid-rabotaet-na-putina/
As regional governments struggle to decide how to reopen, Russian experts are wrestling with what the metrics should be to determine what and when stores, firms, churches and other public activities can be restored to normal functioning safely (echo.msk.ru/blog/ssobyanin/2646867-echo/ and regnum.ru/news/2957253.html).
Complicating these decisions is increasing evidence that the authorities aren’t functioning well, aren’t serving the interests of the population but rather allowing ambulances to avoid coming to places where they suspect infections are and forcing doctors to work without protection and thus increasingly dying as a result (nv.ua/opinion/rossiya-koronavirus-chto-skryvaet-putin-i-zachem-poslednie-novosti-50089444.htmlkasparov.ru/material.php?id=5EC645A060530§ion_id=4354A73076FEC, kasparov.ru/material.php?id=5EC620F794D3F§ion_id=4354A73076FEC and dw.com/ru/комментарий-российские-врачи-спасители-людей-или-заложники-власти/a-53525141).
The economic impact of the pandemic is also increasing. Russians have doubled the number of title loans on their cars to try to make ends meet, an indication of just how tough things are for many (krizis-kopilka.ru/archives/76505snob.ru/entry/193046/
sovross.ru/news/48836). That figure is far lower than in most other countries.
Faced with both the pandemic and a growing economic crisis, attitudes in the population about many things are changing. Large numbers of Russians are now ignoring government self-isolation orders, “the first in post-Soviet Russian history mass campaign of civic disobedience,” according to one commentator (region.expert/rf-pandemic/).
Increasingly, sociologists say, Russians are concluding that things will never be the same again either economically or politically (lenta.ru/articles/2020/05/21/agranovskii/) and are expressing concerns about the violation of their rights, although less their political ones than their right to medical care (ng.ru/economics/2020-05-21/4_7867_research.html).
In the Federal Assembly, some members are talking about the need to legalize the steps the government has taken to fight the pandemic, implicitly admitting that many things that have been done were violations of existing law and the constitution (ria.ru/20200521/1571764096.html), and two senators have called for laying the groundwork to end countersanctions that have hurt Russians more than foreigners (svpressa.ru/economy/article/265928/).
o Meanwhile, among other pandemic-related developments in Russia, there were the following today:
Chechen head Ramzan Kadyrov has been hospitalized in Moscow with what doctors say appears to be a coronavirus infection (kavpolit.com/articles/interfaks_u_kadyrova_zapodozrili_koronavirus-38667/
· Some may flee the big cities to the countryside because of the pandemic, but others and likely more will leave the regions to go to the megalopolises which will receive more help from the government and thus will recover more quickly, experts say (ng.ru/blogs/filatov/pochemu-ottok-kadrov-iz-regionov-usilitsya-v-blizhayshie-dva-goda.php).
The Russian government faced the tricky task of reporting that a jet from the US containing 50 artificial ventilators had arrived from the US given that this aid from abroad highlights the shortcomings of Russia’s medical equipment industry and of the Kremlin’s anti-Western stance (kasparov.ru/material.php?id=5EC6984D507B3§ion_id=4354A73076FEC
· Russian Rail has announced plans to put in place automatic temperature measuring devices in major stations (kasparov.ru/material.php?id=5EC6645B7DD71§ion_id=4354A73076FEC).
· A Russian psychologist who gives advice to celebrities says that divorces are spreading among such people and will spread to other Russians as the pandemic continues (dailystorm.ru/kultura/elena-perelygina-s-prihodom-karantina-razvodov-budet-bolshe).
· Shamans in the Altai Republic have assembled to ask the spirits to block the spread of the coronavirus in their republic (nazaccent.ru/content/33183-shamany-respubliki-altaj-poprosili-duhov-ostanovit.html).
· And a millennial cult in Siberia welcomes the pandemic because its leaders see the infection as a confirmation of their apocalyptic predictions (themoscowtimes.com/2020/05/21/for-this-russian-messianic-cult-coronavirus-isolation-is-a-blessing-a70330).