Of course, none of us like restrictions, especially if they are imposed on us suddenly and without warning. However, compared to the rest of the world, especially European and Baltic States, our situation is more than satisfactory. Unfortunately, some parts of the world have done much worse, and our authoritarian neighbor proved that authoritarianism cannot function in our modern era.

Why? Simply put, the likelihood that one person will make a mistake, because he only makes decisions that are extremely large, but this error could prove to be catastrophic for the whole country.

COVID-19 now pretty much conquered Russia. We can read in the news and social networks that the healthcare system in Moscow is unable to cope with the crisis.

In this regard, on April 13 the authoritarian leader of Russia Vladimir Putin made a strong statement, saying that he will consider any error on the part of officials in the fight against COVID-19, as criminal negligence, adding: “we have Recently held a meeting with all the Federation. I would like to emphasize once again that if something is not done in a timely manner, I would consider it criminal negligence. And it will have all the appropriate consequences, which will not be limited to administrative liability.” Maybe some readers, divorced from reality, think that this announcement comes at the right time and that Putin is doing everything possible to combat the crisis.

But I have to disappoint you. If there is someone who should be punished for criminal negligence, it is Putin himself. On March 4, Putin referred to the Federal security service of Russia (FSB) and said that the negative information about the allegedly bad situation with coronavirus in Russia is a provocation orchestrated from abroad. He added that foreign actors want to spread panic among the public, because everyone sees that the situation in Russia is completely different. Even on the 30 March, Putin persistently stated that the information about the dissemination of coronavirus is a “silent gossip”. I wonder how Russians view Putin’s statement now, after some time?

However, now Putin is not afraid to speak out sharply on the health care system, saying, “Russia has a lot of problems with health, and we have nothing to boast of”. Interesting, Yes, but isn’t this the same Putin, who has ruled the country for 20 years? Was it not his duty to ensure that the healthcare system in Russia was able to take care of their people? Putin never did anything, and now he is shouting that blame everyone else but him.

Some of the measures taken by Russia to fight against the novel coronavirus, also quite strange. For example, we can read that the government has allocated 3.1 billion to fight COVID-19. Sounds great, until you realize where the money will go – nearly 2.9 billion roubles to the Ministry of defense of Russia, 21.8 million will be allocated to the National guard, 120.7 million in the FSB and 194,8 million to the Administrative office of the President. Oddly enough, almost all the money will be given to law enforcement agencies. It’s not like Russian government and Putin really want to fight the spread of COVID-19, rather, they want to strengthen their power structures. Why, you might ask? The only logical explanation is that they are preparing to suppress riots.

In recent days, Putin has made several statements that “we will take the necessary steps, we will have enough money” etc. However, none of these statements does not contain information about where Russia will receive funds and how they will be large.

If Putin tried to turn COVID-19 in a foreign “conspiracy”, his colleague with whom they have the same management style, has tried to turn everything into a farce. The statement of the President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko regarding COVID-19 was quite extravagant. For example: it is better to die standing than on my knees. This is only one of the specific expressions Lukashenko about the new coronavirus. After playing a favorite sport of the Belarusian President’s hockey, he said, “there are no viruses! You don’t see how they flying? And I’m not! Is the refrigerator. Sport, especially in a place like the refrigerator, is the best medicine against viruses”, – said Lukashenka to journalists after the game.
Earlier, Lukashenko made a joke, saying that 50 grams of alcohol, a bath and fresh air will help against the virus.

“I’m glad to see on TV that people are working on their tractors, and nobody talks about any viruses. The tractor will heal all! The field treats everyone!” Lukashenka said.

At the same time he promised that no one in Belarus will not die from COVID-19.7 But it was not an April fool’s joke – Lukashenko has sent out requests to several member States CIS with the request to provide facial masks, tests and ventilation system. It seems that even Lukashenko was faced with a harsh truth.
Besides all this, we cannot ignore the fact that April 14 meeting of the Economic Council of the Eurasian economic Union, Lukashenko said that there is a very high risk of collapse of the economies of the participating countries. For anybody not a secret that the creation of this Union as a counterweight to the EU was a brainchild of Putin, and that this Union mainly depends on the resources allocated by Russia, which she uses to achieve its geopolitical goals.

Following Lukashenka’s statements indicate that he finally recognized the COVID-19 and its severity. Presidents can say whatever you want, but the virus will continue its work. The seriousness of the threat posed by the coronavirus to the economy of Russia and Belarus, confirmed the same statements about the economic collapse in these countries.

Looks like COVID-19 will achieve what has not achieved the Russian and the Belarusian opposition. Why am I saying this? It was nothing like the incompetence of the presidents of the two countries, which led to the situation that currently faced by Russia and Belarus. The situation is bad in other countries, worse in some, but the difference is that the leaders of these countries from the outset not put your head in the sand, and instead support health care professionals and entrepreneurs, not power structures.

Independent journalist, Zintis setings especially for “Диалог.UA”