Carnegie analysis from around the world on Russia’s domestic politics, societal trends, and economics.
Rather than consolidating Russian society, the conflict in Ukraine has exacerbated existing divisions on a diverse array of issues, including support for the regime. Put another way, the impression that Putin now has the full support of the Russian public is simply incorrect.
Russia’s ineffective response to the coronavirus reveals the hazards of a system that cultivates self-interest and cronyism over strong state capacity and administration.
The foundation of the current Kremlin ideology is a defensive narrative: that we have always been attacked and forced to defend ourselves. Another line of defense is history.
The pandemic has revealed a truth of the Russian government. Vladimir Putin has become increasingly disengaged from routine matters of governing and prefers to delegate most issues.
For President Vladimir Putin and the Russian leadership, history—in particular, key events of World War II and the Stalin era—are increasingly a political weapon used to legitimize their rule and mobilize the Russian public. As a result, many Russians are now collectively forgetting historical events that were common knowledge two decades ago.
The fight against the new coronavirus in Russia is being led not by politicians oriented on the public mood, but by managers serving their boss. This is why the authorities’ actions appear first insufficient, then excessive; first belated, then premature.
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