“The Russian authorities were not going to feed people during the pandemic,” said Oleg Shein. “Neoliberal methods, such as targeted assistance to the residents, were predictably narrowed to a banal and unconvincing PR campaign.”
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Russian state and officials have demonstrated extremely low efficiency. This opinion was voiced by Oleg Shein, the State Duma deputy from A Just Russia faction, who has long been known for his harsh comments on the federal government’s actions.
“A strong state does not mean that it can disperse its own citizens with the help of police and batons,” Shein wrote in one his accounts on the social nets. “A strong state is the one that is able to overcome the most significant challenges with minimal losses for its residents.”
According to Oleg Shein, from the very beginning of the COVID-19 epidemic the measures leading up to the solution of the issue were obvious. A strict but short quarantine was needed. This was necessary for two purposes at a time – to stop the spread of the decease and to allow the public healthcare system to adapt to new conditions. However, he believes that the Russian state acted very differently in this situation. What is more, the actions of the authorities might be misguided by the mistakes of the past -- for example, the ones that watered down the standard of living among the Russians.
“The implementation of a scenario of this kind presupposed that people had full fridges,” said Shein. “But there is a problem. The Russian authorities were not going to feed people during the pandemic. Neoliberal methods, such as targeted assistance to the residents, were predictably confined to a banal and unconvincing PR-campaign. Therefore, it was quite obvious that the Russians who found themselves without any money began to ignore the rules of quarantine and the self-isolation regime. Additionally, they perceived the anti-epidemiological measures as evil intrigues of the authorities.”
Moreover, according to Shein, quite serious damage was caused to the national economy of the country.
“According to the estimates by Alexei Kudrin, chairman of the Accounts Chamber, the number of unemployed residents is likely to reach 8 mln people,” said Shein. “Recently, there have been shootings and robberies on the streets that seemed to be buried in oblivion, even if there have been some isolated events so far. However, it's clear to everyone that the crimes were caused by the absence of decent unemployment benefits.”
In Shein’s opinion, the main conclusion to be made from the current situation is obvious. Serious global threats such as an epidemic can be effectively overcome only by socialist measures. “It concerns a developed healthcare system, the functioning of public funds that would provide the unemployed with high benefits, and assistance to small businesses as one of the largest providers of jobs,” summed up Shein.