Russian President Vladimir Putin has long provided other world leaders with a template for authoritarian rule. Now he faces a new test: Whether his top-down system can survive the coronavirus pandemic.
In a televised address to the nation Wednesday, Putin announced a sweeping array of measures to cope with the spread of the virus and its widening economic effects.
“Let’s not rely on our Russian luck,” he said. “Please do not think, as we often do: ‘Oh, this will not touch me.’ It can touch everyone. And then what is happening today in many Western countries, both in Europe and overseas, could become our immediate future.”
Some of the measures were meant to soften the economic blow. Starting on March 28, Russians will have a week’s paid leave — to stay home. Russians will see a moratorium on mortgage payments, and enterprises will be given credit holidays. And families entitled to government payments to support multiple children will receive extra monthly payments.
Leave a Reply