Putin’s Non-Decisions Paralyze Crisis-Stricken Russia

05 May 2020

(EDM) As April drew to a close, Russia surpassed China in the number of recorded COVID-19 infections; and by the end of the first week of May, it is set to register twice as many cases as its southern neighbor whose population is ten times greater. Russian official media reflected on this trend rather indifferently. Indeed, the reliability of Chinese data is questionable, even if never questioned in Moscow, but Russian data, in turn, reflects deep confusion in the domestic public health sector (RIA Novosti, April 27). The number of tests per capita in Russia is 30 percent higher than in the United States; however, the reliability of Russia’s testing is known to be quite low, so diagnosis relies primarily on the results of computed tomography (CT) scans (Meduza, April 30). The Russian leadership cannot control the information flows with the same efficiency as the Chinese; but at the same time, it cannot trust the information supplied by the befuddled bureaucracy. As a result, President Vladimir Putin simultaneously informs the public that “the risk of infection is reaching a peak” but that “the peak is still ahead of us” (Kremlin.ru, April 28). [...]

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