(New Statesman) On 28 April, as Vladimir Putin delivered his latest address to the nation amid the coronavirus crisis, the mood was grim. “We have not passed the peak,” he warned. “We are now facing probably the most difficult stage of our struggle with this pandemic”.
After an illusory few weeks, in which Russia seemed to have avoided the disasters unfolding elsewhere, Covid-19 had finally begun to hit home. [...]
However, according to Kornely Kakachia, director of the Georgian Institute of Politics, a Tbilisi-based think tank, democracy has simply incentivised governments to make sound pandemic policy decisions.
“We have elections due in the autumn, and the government was already unpopular before Covid-19. If something had gone wrong with the response, they would have been blamed, so there was enormous pressure on them to get it right.”
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