During the pandemic, Russia and the U.S. have these 3 things in common

Каресс Шенк, ассистент-профессор Назарбаев Университета, анализировала реакцию России на коронавирус для проекта об ответе правительств по всему миру CoronaNet. В результате исследования она обнаружила три сходства с Соединенными Штатами. Об этом ее статья для Monkey Cage

Caress Schenk, Washington Post Monkey Cage

During the covid-19 crisis, Russia’s authoritarianism is on full display. Surveillance technologies, global power playsmisinformation and government propaganda make easy fodder for critics of Russia’s coronavirus response. But Russia’s approach shares much in common with the United States. These similarities may make Russia more relatable than Winston Churchill’s famous assessment of it as a “riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma.”

In my work on Russia’s immigration policy, I argue that policymakers sometimes frame issues as crises in order to solve unrelated problems or to mobilize certain ideas. Other work on Russia reveals that crisis response can produce benefits such as electoral gains, but it doesn’t always achieve intended aims and may lead to perpetual crisis cycles.

In important ways, Russia is used to crisis. Even though modern crises are increasingly borderless, domestic policy shows how committed leaders are to sustainable solutions.

In the process of collecting data on Russia’s response to covid-19 for the CoronaNet Research Project — an initiative tracking government responses worldwide — I observed three broad similarities with the United States that have little to do with authoritarian personalities or the politics of President Trump and Vladimir Putin.

1. Russia relies on local decision-making

Russia is a federal system that divides power between the government in Moscow and more than 80 regions. Some regional leaders are competent and relatively independent from the Kremlin. Others are not. In response to the covid-19 crisis, local leaders have initiated raids on Chinese citizens, created digital pass systems and even closed borders between regions. These types of policies make international headlines because they fit into the ready-made box of authoritarianism.

More mundane local policies are less newsworthy. In Moscow, the city government established a coronavirus task force, built hospitals, increased production of masks and was the first in the country to institute a citywide stay-at-home order. Other regions followed suit. These policies are the domain of mayors and governors.

2. National-level policies depend on many government leaders

While Russia lacks U.S.-style checks and balances, many policy areas depend on the input of numerous decision-makers. A task force established in January has led the covid-19 crisis response. Under the direction of Deputy Prime Minister Tatiana Golikova and chief state sanitary doctor Anna Popova, the task force oversaw the development of a test kit, created procedures for isolation and quarantine, posted daily updates on the coronavirus situation, and drafted myriad authoritative recommendations for border closings, travel restrictions and the use of public spaces.

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