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COVID-19 Crisis In Russia: Federal Government Strikes Back

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COVID-19 Crisis In Russia: Federal Government Strikes Back

Mikhail Mishustin (Photo by Mikhail KLIMENTYEV / SPUTNIK / AFP)

Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin has slammed regional authorities that closed administrative borders of their regions and restricited the movement and ordered to remove such restrictions.

At a meeting with regional envoys on April 6, Mishustin emphasized that it is “unacceptable” for Russia’s regions to close their borders with other regions of the country.

“The government’s signals that such measures are unacceptable were heard – the situation has improved over the weekend. However, I want to repeat to heads of the regions: do not confuse the regional powers with the federal,” Mishustin said.

According to the prime minister, President Vladimir Putin gave the regions additional powers to combat the spread of coronavirus infection, but they must be adequate to the situation and the measures introduced by the central authorities.

Earlier, Chechnya, Crimea, Tatarstan and some other regions imposed a de-facto regime of the ‘administrative’ self-isolation from the rest of the country under pretext of combating the COVID-19 outbreak. This decision faced a strong negative reaction among the local population because of its apparent negative impact to the social and economic situation in the country.

These actions followed the announcement of Russia’s President Vladimir Putin of the country’s shutdown until April 30 in an adress to the nation on April 2. During the same adress, President Putin in fact provided regional authorities with additional powers (in fact emergency powers) that they have immidiately started exploiting. Now, the Mishustin government is conducting important and valuable actions to keep the situation under the country. Nonetheless, these actions could be belated.

Additionally, Mishustin announced that Russia is working to bring home citizens remaining in foreign countries. 

“I would like to stress: Russia did not refuse to return our citizens, we never abandon our people.”

“In the situation when the borders are closed, flights are canceled, we are making an effort for everyone who wants to return home to do so,” the prime minister said, adding that those wishing to return had only to fill out a form on the website for various government services.

According to the prime minister, flights returning people to Russia will be resumed later on April 6. This move also goes contrary to the previous measures announced. Flights returning Russian citizens remaining in foreign countries were halte on April 4.

SF released a report addressing possible negative consequences of the ‘administrative’ self-isolation of the regions and the current type of anti-COVID-19 measures employed in Russia on April 4. On April 6, the Russian Federal Government in fact confirmed that these negative tendencies really exist and started acting to contain them and brign the stability back to the country.

It’s also interesting to note that according Russian media reports, Prime Minister Mishustin has complicated relations with Moscow mayor Sergey Sobyanin. The cause behind the rift is that Sobyanin has insisted from the very beginning that strict quarantine must introduced in the capital and has been one of the main supporters of the media hysteria over the COVID-19 threat. Many saw it as a kind of political move to strengthen the power of the circles that include such persons as Moscow major Sergey Sobyanin that includes such controversial persons as Herman Gref (CEO of Sberbank of Russia), Elvira Nabiullina (President of the Central Bank of Russia). This circle is well known for its pro-Western, neo-liberal views and ties with the global elites.

HINT: Modern “liberalism” (often called “neo-liberalism”) is the ideology of serving to global financial monopolies and market speculators in general. The goal of such “liberals” is to increase their personal level of consumption with the minimal possible intellectual and physical work, using the margin simplification of modern communications and IT technologies, for satisfying their selfish, mainly bodily, desires covering them under the guise of post-modern sophistry. Thus, they swallow public resources undermining the steadily development of the humanity.

Meanwhile, the federal government also limited the ability of traders to increase the prices of medical masks, gloves and respirators. The restrictions are imposed on the wholesale and retail trade of medical masks and some other medical devices. The corresponding decree was signed by Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin.

The decree prohibits the retail sale of such goods in ordinary stores and other points that do not have a license to carry out pharmaceutical activities. At the same time, pharmacies and other organizations that have such a license are allowed to increase the selling price of products on the list by no more than 0.1 ruble per piece or other unit of goods. Wholesalers are forbidden to increase the purchase price by more than 10% “at each stage of the wholesale supply chain.”

When Mishustin got the prime minister post, there have been reasonable doubts regarding his personality as a patriotic political leader of the country. Nonetheless, in the current conditions, the Mishustin government has demonstrated a reasonable and weighed approach in dealing with the crisis.

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