Euphoria of the Russian crown – POLITICO
This is probably what the Kremlin wanted. Muscovites are well aware that their crown freedom emerged in anticipation of the July 1 vote on a new constitution Putin potentially had to pass. extends his reign until 2036 – but there was not much hindsight.
Reports massive electoral fraud did not arouse public anger and there were no protests of the magnitude of the protests last summer. (There is ongoing unrest in the far east of the country over the arrest of a popular, anti-Kremlin governor, but they have remained local for now.)
Instead, Putin is being thanked by Muscovites for forcing the mayor of Moscow to lift the lockdown earlier than expected, and his popularity has skyrocketed.
Most of the Russians are relieved to be free again, even though the country is recording even more 6000 new cases per day. International borders may still be closed, but most Russians have tossed caution to the wind and have already embraced a post-corona future.
Crimea has become the new Ibiza, with flush Muscovites flocking to the rocky beaches of the disputed peninsula for their late summer vacation. The cavalier attitude towards wearing masks and social distancing among most Russians makes a deadlier second wave in the fall – or sooner – even more likely.
But for now, the crown nihilists have the upper hand in Russia: An investigation by the Moscow Graduate School of Economics found that a staggering third of Russians do not believe in the coronavirus pandemic and consider the threat to be exaggerated.
With an official toll of just over 10,000 dead from nearly a million infections, their cavalier attitude has some basis in statistics – or at least in government statistics. Even though the New York Times claims the Kremlin distorted the facts To underestimate the true death rate, the official figures helped quell the initial corona panic.
“I’m sorry for the Americans,” a taxi driver confessed the other day. “They had over 100,000 deaths while we had far fewer thanks to our superior medical care.”
Besides the low official death toll, there is another reason for the local crown cold bloodand people’s willingness to play Russian roulette with their health.
Given their brutal and violent history, Russians are perhaps more fatalistic than others and more inclined to shrug their shoulders in the face of chaos, disasters and pandemics than to actively change their behavior and take precautions for mitigate the dangers.
The Russians even have a word, to your, for their fatalism: this roughly translates into believing that life is unpredictable and that there is not much you can do to change your destiny. Even Putin used the word, asking the Russians to take the corona threat seriously at the end of March this year and not to “rely on our good old Russian.” to your. “
So, as other countries roll back restrictions as infections rise, Russia has opened wide. Even the strict guidelines for the compulsory wearing of masks on the streets have now been repealed.
The rapid lifting of corona restrictions has led to a summer of euphoria as lock-down weary Russians enjoy their freedom once again. Even though many came out on the other side poorer, with their financial futures more uncertain, that hasn’t stopped them from filling up parks and harassing nightclubs.
The carefree vibe fits Putin’s plans perfectly. While Russian parties and minds are on the sunny beaches of Crimea, the Kremlin has used the vacuum to ruthlessly suppress its critics.
Just days after the vote on the new constitution, former journalist Ivan Safronov was arrested for treason, and police stormed the apartment of activist Pussy Riot Pussy Riot, accusing him of failing to declare his Canadian citizenship.
Anti-Kremlin governor Sergei Furgal arrested in far eastern Khaborovsk region for murder dating back 15 years unleashed the most serious challenge of Putin’s post-referendum crackdown, with more than 15,000 demonstrators last weekend. “This is another campaign of intimidation,” tweeted prominent Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny.
At another point, these harsh measures could have led to street protests in Moscow and St. Petersburg as well, but most Russians are too busy celebrating to notice. They’ve given Putin free rein for the summer at least so they can finally let go. They might even be willing to give it their assent longer – as long as there isn’t another lockdown.
Any discussion of a new round of restrictions in the fall if cases increase after a summer of abandonment could put an abrupt end to an otherwise happy conversation. Having lived through totalitarianism and the dark purges of the Stalinist era, seeing their freedoms restricted again terrifies Russians more than the coronavirus.
Putin understands their mentality, so it is unlikely – despite persistent rumors to the contrary – that the Kremlin will order another lockdown, even if the cases multiply. A second quarantine could lead to street protests and further harm the Russian economy, which is already expected contract over 6 percent this year, according to the World Bank.
The unemployed Russians could then turn their anger against the Kremlin, and Putin’s carefully crafted plans for eternal reign over Mother Russia could start to crumble.
It is therefore more likely that the Kremlin will continue to spin statistics to minimize the threat and let the Russians profit from their blissful ignorance. Russia learned from neighboring Belarus, which never ordered lock even during the peak of their corona peaks – it now appears the Kremlin is considering letting the virus run unchecked until it dies out in the vastness of Russia.
This strategy could be disastrous for Russia’s most vulnerable, especially its retirees, but as long as hospitals can handle the outbreak, Putin should come out of it unscathed. Unlike the unpopular former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, who turned the country against him by imposing a severe ban on him in 1985, Putin has no desire to shut down the party and jeopardize his regime.
He knows that as long as the Russians are free and happy, he can get away with murder.