Are we misreading the potential threat that the coronavirus represents for the Russian political system and President Putin’s hold on power? Are we overlooking the sources of resilience and inertia that are helping bolster a regime in its hour of greatest need? 

In an essay for Foreign Affairs, Carnegie Moscow Center senior fellow Alexander Baunov posed several provocative questions about why the pandemic has wrong-footed both the opposition and the Kremlin. Ekaterina Schulmann, an innovative Moscow-based political observer, has recently been exploring similar themes. She has built a huge YouTube audience for her work on Russian politics, which is presented from the comfort of her kitchen table. 

Please join us for a virtual discussion on what the coronavirus has exposed about the limitations of Russian-style authoritarianism and its heavily centralized political system.

Alexander Baunov

Alexander Baunov is a senior fellow at the Carnegie Moscow Center and the editor-in-chief of 

Ekaterina Schulmann

Ekaterina Schulmann teaches politics at the Moscow School of Social and Economic Sciences (MSSES) and the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration.  She is also an associate fellow of the Russia and Eurasia Program at Chatham House. 

Andrew S. Weiss

Andrew S. Weiss is the James Family Chair and vice president for studies at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.