Three months after the first confirmed case of coronavirus, Russia is the third country in the world for infections. A look at the official statistics raises some suspicion, as the number of deceased remains low in comparison with European states. In the face of the epidemic, citizens are wondering how the country’s healthcare system will cope. For the Kremlin, the stakes are even higher, as the price of oil has plummeted and the ruble has lost a third of its value. If oil prices continue to stay below 40 USD, Moscow will inevitably face a budget deficit this year. As a result, living conditions will deteriorate, and the healthcare system will suffer. Millions of Russians are already facing growing poverty and unemployment without any indication of what their lives may look like after COVID-19. Meanwhile, the constitutional referendum meant to extend Putin’s term limit as president was postponed. Originally scheduled for 22 April, this delay is due to Putin’s concerns for public health and the multidimensional impact of the pandemic: a perfect storm involving quarantine measures, declining living standards, inflation, a weakened exchange rate, rising prices and increased job insecurity..
In this Webinar, we host a discussion with Anna Zafesova (La Stampa, Il Foglio, Linkiesta), Giuseppe Agliastro (Ansa) and Micòl Flammini (Il Foglio) on the political, economic and social implications for Russia and the Kremlin in the time of COVID-19