Russians Don’t Believe Kremlin about Coronavirus or the Economy, New Surveys Show
(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, July 18, 2020)
Two new surveys show the collapse of public trust in the powers that be: In one, carried out by the Russian Academy of Economics and State Service, only 18 percent accept Kremlin assurances that Russia will avoid a second wave of the pandemic, with 45 percent expecting it sometime later this year and 37 percent saying it is hard for them to say (krizis-kopilka.ru/archives/78254).
And in the second, nearly 84 percent of leaders of small and mid-sized businesses say they face ruin, that a moratorium on bankruptcies won’t help, and that the government hasn’t done enough to help them, a position that even the government’s business ombudsman takes as well (svpressa.ru/economy/article/271001/).
Both these widespread attitudes are the result of a more general collapse in public trust in the authorities. According to a third survey, the level of trust in Russia today is lower than it has been in 15 years, something that makes it difficult if not impossible for the Kremlin to recover with promises alone (vedomosti.ru/business/articles/2020/07/17/834802-indeks-doveriya-potrebitelei).
Instead of accepting what Vladimir Putin or his regime say, Russians are increasingly attentive to medical specialists who have been arguing for some time that a second wave is likely in the fall when the more general flu season begins and who call for taking measures now to defend against that possibility (regnum.ru/news/3013670.html).
Those experts by their analyses and predictions are contributing to the undermining of public trust in the government. Today, for example, doctors pointed out that coronavirus infections manifest themselves in far more ways than had been thought, yet another explanation for the sense many have that there are far more cases in Russia than the government admits (kp.ru/daily/27157.5/4255336/).
But even if the official numbers are understatements, they show that the coronavirus is far from disappearing. Today, the authorities said they had registered 6234 new cases of infection, bringing the total to 765,437, and 124 more deaths from the disease bringing that toll to 12,247 (t.me/COVID2019_official/1073).
[article also appeared at windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2020/07/russians-dont-believe-kremlin-about.html]