Many experts said that politicians would make the epidemic instrumental for improving their popularity ratings. Mostly, it was said regarding Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin who was partly forced to take responsibility for what was happening in the Russian capital.
The epidemic of the coronavirus infection in Russia significantly reshaped the Kremlin's plans to amend the Constitution and to overhaul the political structure of the state subsequently. In order to combat the COVID-19 epidemic the country was forced to go into lockdown.
At the same time, the statistics of recent days shows that the virus has begun to recede. The number of new recorded cases is falling, and the restrictive measures introduced earlier in the country are gradually going.
Many experts said that politicians would make the epidemic instrumental for improving their popularity ratings. Mostly, it was said regarding Moscow mayor Sergei Sobyanin who was partly forced to take responsibility for what was happening in the Russian capital that was markedly “leading” in the number of COVID-19 cases. However, despite some mistakes, it was Sobyanin who, in the eyes of the city residents, turned out to be the person who took some actions during the epidemic and tried to resist the spread of the virus although some of his decisions were criticized. By these actions he counter-balanced himself versus Vladimir Putin. According to the well-known political scientist Dmitry Oreshkin, the Moscow mayor emerged victorious after this period.
“Yes, Moscow Mayor made mistakes, such as crowds in the metro on April 15,” Oreshkin said in an interview. “However, in the eyes of the residents he looked like a man who was not hiding from the epidemic taking efforts to solve the issue. If, for example, there were presidential elections soon, Sobyanin might well decide to participate in them and to oppose the incumbent President after making an assessment of his own chances [to win.] Vladimir Putin has a serious rival.”
He added that Sobyanin was not likely to seriously compete for the post of the Russian President in the political arena yet, but he is very close to it.
“In the rating of social respect Sergei Sobyanin is far ahead of Vladimir Putin,” said Oreshkin. “In addition, Moscow Mayor has serious assets – money and support of the country's political elites. We’ll see what happens next, but the situation looks extremely intriguing.”