Coronavirus pushes Putin into a political trap

Before the onset of coronavirus era I was very fond of complaining that the time was flowing too fast. And now once again convinced that we should be afraid of the fulfillment of their cherished desires. For the first four weeks of strict quarantine in Moscow can responsibly say: if not stopped completely, it was flowing much slower.

For me the problem is mostly psychological, but for the government — evidently political.

Refusing to wane the epidemic of coronavirus, coupled with the long quarantine and the onset of Sunny and warm days are slowly but surely being driven Putin’s vertical of power in the political trap. To break the motion vector of GDP will require all his art is political maneuvering and his ability to convince.

Man is a being that is rational only conditionally. When the window whips the gloomy autumn rain and the entire body and covers the spleen, we tend to more critical and negative attitude to our political leaders. And when it’s shining bright the gentle sun, we, on the contrary, they tend to forgive a lot.

Servants of all stripes are well aware of this political phenomenon and very actively use it. For example, until recently the Prime Minister had the right to appoint new parliamentary elections at any convenient moment. And what do you think? In the period from 1979 to 2019 British parliamentary elections only once not held in may-June.

But politically favorable time late spring and early summer was not always the case. Before the onset of the modern era this period was known in Europe as the hunger gap — the time of the hunger gap. Food stocks remaining from the previous harvest has already been exhausted or close to exhaustion. But this year’s harvest yet — it is necessary to wait a few more weeks or months.

Coronavirus in a sense, rejected the contemporary Russian political calendar several centuries ago. Of the politically favorable period of late spring has turned into a problem. The Russian government face to face facing a number of similar “gaps”.

Imagine this: you swim across a river, fighting strong currents, avoid rushing at crazy speed boats, say every meter, which remained waiting for the other shore. Finally, you reach it. And here you declare: thank you for your heroic efforts! But you need this minute to swim back! From my point of view, this metaphor accurately describes the condition of many of us after four weeks of strict quarantine.

in late March well-known in the past Russian political analyst Vadim Malkin wrote in social networks��x: “Those who always advocate immediate strict quarantine with the first hundred cases, obviously, underestimate the phenomenon, which is a good and advanced models of the spread of viruses described as social distancing fatigue (fatigue”social distancing”).

People can relatively painless (key word “relatively”) to sharply restrict their social contacts to only a certain amount of time. This, you know how to diet hard to get. Three weeks — Yes, strong enough. And then the person breaks down, starts to break or even go to the winds. In the end, lost 1 kg, scored three.

as with restriction of social contacts. After three weeks locked up a huge number of people, no matter what draconian penalties for violation of quarantine do not enter, begin to cheat”.

of Course, the fear of death is stronger “tired of social distancing”. But here itself in all its glory shows the danger of coronavirus. Here is perfidy in the same social networks very accurately described by a famous figure of the Russian volunteer movement Elena Alshanskaya: “in reality, the level of disaster is only visible to the doctors… But for most it is not. We don’t see it. We see a normal city where normal street window, spring begins, there is no devastation of the war.

People don’t fall over dead, and it is unclear: why all this? Nobody sees any signs of disaster.”

All this taken together katapultiert Russian power in the epicenter of the tangled skein emotionally charged contradictions. In the Soviet film “the city came trouble” about the smallpox epidemic in Moscow in the Khrushchev era was very aptly noted: during the period of such disasters in a reasonable state in fact establishes a “dictatorship of doctors”.

So, our modern Russia’s “dictatorship of doctors” in the mouth of the head of Rospotrebnadzor Anna Popova said its weighty word: after April 30, “we need at least another two weeks of hard constraints due to coronavirus”.

I Suspect that, when will these sought two weeks, it turns out that the minimum is not enough. The real “minimum” will include all of may and all of June. But whether that is necessary from an epidemiological point of view, it really is achievable if you look at the situation through a political prism?

How to keep people in their homes amid hot weather that, according to the statement of the supervisor of the hydrometeorological center Roman Vilfand, is not far off? How to keep people in their homes on the news about the gradual removal of restrictions in foreign countries, which are faced with the coronavirus before Russia? How to keep people in their homes amid the growing disorganization of the economic life of the country and fall or even loss of the income of citizens?

Accepted�� to think that in the fight against the epidemic need to actually balance the battle with the virus and the battle for rescuing the economy from collapse. But this is clearly not a complete description of the real situation.

In reality, Putin’s vertical of power is now not between two but between three fires. The third fire is the need to reassure society, to prevent its disruption and to continue to give him all new and new “the bitter pill”.

Putin understood this dilemma initially — even at the earliest stages of the crisis. Remember, for example, in his very first address to the nation about the coronavirus GDP was not talking about negative-sounding “quarantine”, and pleasing to the ear each not mad at the man workaholism “holidays”? In March, these “sugared a bitter pill” helped the authorities without unnecessary disturbances to enter the country’s required quarantine.

But the political tricks that worked effectively at the end of March will not be as effective at the end of April or in may-June. In order not to be trapped, the government urgently needs to expand its political tools. The time is now, as I said, moving slowly like a snail. But delay reaction it does not forgive.