Monday, December 14, 2020

Pandemic has Made Russians More Active and More Demanding of Their Government, HSE Study Shows

Paul Goble

            Staunton, December 13 – A survey conducted by Moscow’s Higher School of Economics shows that the pandemic has had a significant impact on Russians, making them more active and also more demanding of their government, Valeriya Kasamara, direct of the HSE’s Institute for Applied Political Research, says (

            One might have expected, she continues, that the pandemic would have set off a wave of anti-government attitudes, given the longstanding distrust Russians have in the powers that be. “But in fact, it has turned out that this did not happen, Kasamara continued. Instead, Russians generally felt their government had responded well.

            At the same time, however, they do think that “today, one can demand from the powers that be greater efforts to support those who find themselves in a difficult situation.” That attitude is likely to continue. How the government responds will determine the attitudes of Russians toward those in power in the future.

            The Russian authorities announced that they registered 28,080 new cases of infection and 488 new deaths over the last 24 hours, both figures down slightly from a day earlier but enough to bring the cumulative totals respectively to 2,653,928 and 46,941 (

            Although the number of media reports about the pandemic has fallen because this is a Sunday, stories that were filed show that the pandemic continues to spread and that regional officials have had to impose more restrictions rather than lift those they had already imposed (

            St. Petersburg officials continued to stage raids on bars, restaurants and other places where people could buy food to see if these businesses are living up to the region’s rules ( But in Moscow officials promised they would not impose any new restrictions, including on alcohol, on New Year’s eve (

            And a group of members of the Social Chamber appealed to the government to re-open Russia’s museums, arguing that such institutions no longer threaten to spread the pandemic further (

            On the economic front, many Russians have been worried about rising food prices, but experts say that housing prices are rising even further, putting housing in many places beyond the reach of increasingly impoverished Russians (

            Meanwhile, in other pandemic-related developments in Russia today,

·         Anatoly Stepanov, a leading Orthodox Russian nationalist who edits the Russkaya narodnaya liniya portal, has been diagnosed with a severe case of coronavirus infection (

·         Eurasianist philosopher Aleksandr Dugin says that the pandemic is a warning to humanity because so many people have turned away from God and an even that signals the end of globalism (

·         Yet another Russian commentator is saying that “the more specialists find out about the new coronavirus, the more frequently they express their doubts that it originated naturally” (

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