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COVID and Federal Relations in Russia

In: Russian Politics
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  • 1 Director, Center for Comparative Governance Studies, Saint-Petersburg School of Social Sciences and Area Studies, Higher School of EconomicsSaint PetersburgRussia
  • | 2 Professor, Department of Political Science and International Affairs, Saint-Petersburg School of Social Sciences and Area Studies, Higher School of EconomicsSaint-PetersburgRussia
  • | 3 Professor, Department of Political Science, Faculty of Political Science, SUNYBinghamton, NYUSA
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Abstract

The COVID-19 crisis has provided an opportunity to re-evaluate how the federal relations work in authoritarian Russia. In particular, the crisis has confirmed that the regional governors are an integral part of maintaining the stability of the non-democratic regime. Since the whole system and thus, the political careers of the incumbent governors depend on Putin’s popularity, they are interested in maintaining it, even at the expense of their own popularity with the population. In Spring 2020 the regional governors have demonstrated both loyalty and willingness to shield Putin from political responsibility for unpopular measures associated with the epidemic.

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