Russia is put on a nationwide mandatory lockdown until April 30.
On April 2, Russian President Vladimir Putin made a televised address to the citizens of Russia in connection with the spread of coronavirus infection. The head of state said that the measures announced during the weekend, allowed for the reduction of risks and gain time for action against the epidemic, but its peak, including in Russia, has not yet been passed. In particular, he said, in Moscow it has not yet been possible to “turn the tide”.
HINT: The video has an English voice-over.
In his speech, Putin announced the following measures that will either be extended or introduced. In his words, all of these are to support citizens, and as such should be followed:
- extend the mandatory paid leave until April 30;
- authorities and enterprises with continuous production, as well essential services, hospitals, grocery stores and pharmacies will continue to work (non-government bodies and other enterprises remain closed);
- if the epidemiological situation allows, the number of non-working days can be reduced, additional decisions will be made depending on the situation;
- heads of the constituent entities (local governments) of the Russian Federation will be given additional powers (in fact emergency powers): they must determine the list of their own specific measures for coronavirus by the end of the week;
- presidential envoys will coordinate the work of the regions on COVID-19, all information on decisions to be made should fall to the coordination council under the Cabinet;
- if it is required to further limit the work of essential businesses, regions are required to coordinate this with the federal government.
Putin emphasized the need for citizens to comply with the recommendations of the authorities and health authorities.
“We will continue to act in a coordinated and reliable manner, and most importantly, we will be proactive,” he summed up.
Additionally, Putin signed a decree “On measures to ensure the sanitary and epidemiological well-being of the population in the Russian Federation in connection with the spread of a new coronavirus infection (COVID-19).”
The text of the decree, in its entirety is the following:
“In order to ensure the sanitary and epidemiological well-being of the population in the Russian Federation in connection with the spread of a new coronavirus infection (COVID-19), in accordance with Article 80 of the Constitution of the Russian Federation, I hereby decide:
- To establish from April 4th to April 30th, 2020 inclusively non-working days with preservation of wages for employees.
- To the highest officials (heads of the highest executive bodies of state power) of the constituent entities of the Russian Federation, taking into account the provisions of this Decree, based on the sanitary-epidemiological situation and the characteristics of the spread of new coronavirus infection (COVID-19) in the constituent entity of the Russian Federation, ensure the development and implementation of a set of restrictive and other events, primarily:
- determine within the boundaries of the respective constituent entity of the Russian Federation the territories on which the implementation of a set of restrictive and other measures is envisaged to ensure the sanitary and epidemiological well-being of the population (hereinafter referred to as the relevant territory), including under the conditions of the introduction of a high alert, emergency;
- suspend (limit) the activities of individual establishments located in the relevant territory, regardless of the legal form of ownership and form of ownership, as well as individual entrepreneurs, taking into account the provisions of paragraphs 4 and 5 of this Decree;
- establish a special procedure for the movement of persons and vehicles in the relevant territory, with the exception of vehicles engaged in inter-regional transportation.
- Restrictive and other measures may be implemented at different periods of time within the general period established by paragraph 1 of this Decree.
- This Decree does not apply to the following establishments (employers and their employees):
- continuously operating establishments;
- medical and pharmacy establishments;
- establishments providing the population with food and essential goods;
- establishments performing emergency work in emergency situations and(or) when there is a threat of the spread of a disease that poses a danger to others, or in other cases that endanger the life, health or normal living conditions of the population;
- establishments engaged in emergency repair and handling operations;
- establishments that provide financial services in terms of emergency functions (primarily settlement and payment services);
- other establishments determined by decisions of the supreme executive body of state power of a constituent entity of the Russian Federation based on the sanitary-epidemiological situation and the specifics of the spread of a new coronavirus infection (COVID-19) in a constituent entity of the Russian Federation.
- This Decree may apply to system-forming, as well as scientific and educational establishments in coordination with the Government of the Russian Federation.
- To designate the number of federal public servants and employees who ensure the functioning of these bodies from April 4th to April 30th, 2020, and notify the federal state bodies and bodies of state extra-budgetary funds.
- The state bodies of the constituent entities of the Russian Federation and local authorities based on the sanitary and epidemiological situation and the distribution of the new coronavirus infection (COVID-19) in the relevant territory of the Russian Federation, designate the number of state and municipal employees providing from April 4th to April 30th, 2020 to continue in order to guarantee the functioning of the respective institutions.
- Establishments engaged in the production and release of mass media shall designate the number of employees who ensure the functioning of the same organizations from April 4th to April 30th, 2020.
- This Decree shall enter into force on the day of its official publication.
Therefore, a majority of the Russian population (excluding some categories of citizens) was put on a strict quarantine. The new round of anti-COVID-19 measures, including additional powers to regional authorities and self-isolation of the regions, leads to the decentralization of the Russian state and the creation of de-facto borders between different regions.
A high number of people in Moscow and the Moscow region that do not have savings and place of a permanent registration (and thus facing administrative difficulties during the regime of self-isolation) were put in dire conditions. Taking into account the economic crisis and lots of gastarbeiters that are locked in the city and lost an opportunity to work to get money, the social and security situation may deteriorate fast. The growth of criminal activities and violent crimes (like robberies with use of force) is a possible scenario. In this case, authorities will likely deploy additional forces of Police and the National Guard to the capital. It is not currently possible to predict to what consequences this scenario will lead. Putin’s national address caused a wave of negative comments in the Russian segment of the Internet. Russian users write that if the situation is so bad, why doesn’t he impose the state of emergency? The state of emergency will allow to all levels of Russian authorities to act within the framework of the Russian Constitution and federal laws.
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