“I cannot predict what is happening next or what coalition will be created against [Moscow Mayor] Sergei Sobyanin. To my thinking, there might be some kind of coalition “For Freedom from Non-Legal Measures of Moscow Mayor,” said political analyst Gleb Pavlovsky.
Apparently, the infection rate of COVID-19 in Russia is unlikely to decline. On the contrary, in recent days, the number of new cases is rapidly growing. For example, as many as 10,598 new cases of the novel coronavirus infection were registered in the country in the 24 hours since Thursday morning.
Obviously, the restrictive measures introduced by the Russian government are not working as expected. This is confirmed by the fact that Anna Popova, the country’s chief state sanitary doctor, keeps readjusting her predictions for when the epidemic is over in the country.
At the same time, the statements by many experts, who claim that people see “a new world” in the wake of the virus, seem reasonable. Apparently, our reality will no longer be the same.
Gleb Pavlovsky, a well-known political scientist, is confident that the political scene in Russia is likely to change, too.
In a conversation with the Echo of Moscow radio station, he said that during the epidemic, Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin profiled himself in a completely new light. He is gradually becoming a political figure of the nationwide level angling for the highest government posts in the country. In Pavlovsky's opinion, these aspirations may bring serious problems to Sobyanin.
“There is new Moscow and new Sobyanin,” says Pavlovsky. “Today, we are observing exactly the new version of him – a federal politician of the first tier who stands at the head of a strong and rich city. It is a brand-new political phenomenon, a new political force. It seems fair to say that there might be a new party, that of Sergei Sobyanin. Earlier, this political actor did not risk moving up to the federal level but now everything has changed.”
Pavlovsky believes that it might ignite a currently brewing conflict between the Moscow mayor and the Kremlin, despite Sobyanin's actions that are more typical of soft power.
“What is going to happen next? In my opinion, he will not risk challenging his competitors,” said Pavlovsky. “It is no in his nature. Anyway, I believe that they are likely to try to outmatch him soon. The Kremlin representatives are outraged by the fact that he doesn't appeal to Putin's decisions every time. Even when he constantly expresses his gratitude in President's presence, it sounds more like a mockery. When he has to make a decision, he simply says: “It will be like this.”
Sobyanin makes absolutely no attempts to hide behind someone else's decisions. In our system, this kind of behavior is unpardonable. He is not likely to be forgiven for that. I cannot predict what happens next or what coalition will be created against Sobyanin. To my thinking, it might be some kind of coalition ‘For Freedom from Moscow Mayor’s Non-Legal Steps’.”