Why Putin now makes the corona virus a top priority

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Tour with the head of the clinic: Vladimir Putin on Tuesday in Kommunarka on the outskirts of Moscow
Image: AP

Until recently, the fight against the corona virus was not a priority for the president. But now the Kremlin is preparing the Russians to spread across the country – and Putin is even postponing the vote on constitutional reform.

ALast Wednesday, Vladimir Putin was a guest in Crimea to celebrate the annexation of the Ukrainian peninsula six years earlier. At the same time, the Russian president announced that the coronavirus situation was “under control so far”. The leadership tried to instill confidence that preventive measures such as border closures and quarantine would suffice for returnees from high-risk countries.

Friedrich Schmidt

The relatively low number of official cases helped. All people whom Putin meets have been tested for the virus for some time. But the struggle against it was not a political priority for the Kremlin: it was the constitutional reform that Putin is to allow to remain in the presidency until 2036. Advertising for a referendum has already begun; it emphasizes the “protection” of Russian culture and victory in World War II and does not mention Putin’s coup of power.



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