R.Politik CEO and founder, Tatiana Stanovaya, is regularly quoted by major Russian and international media outlets. She is available for commentary in Russian and English.

Commentary for AFP

The well being disaster raises the query of Vladimir Putin’s management

May 25, 2020

In actuality, says Tatiana Stanovaya, of the R.Politik suppose tank, “The powers out there are adequate to behave within the face of the pandemic, to shut colleges, companies … However the technocrats on the helm have the reflex of desirous to fulfill their superiors and, for that, to not report the issues”. Illustration of this development, the mortality fee linked to Covid-19. Very low on the nationwide degree, with lower than 1%, it’s much more so within the areas, the place the assessments are nonetheless much less large than in Moscow and the hospital infrastructures a lot much less environment friendly.

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Commentary for Le Monde

Coronavirus : la crise sanitaire pose la question du leadership de Vladimir Poutine

Retranché dans son « bunker », le président russe délègue aux régions, jusqu’ici délaissées, une partie de la gestion de la crise, explique le correspondant du « Monde » à Moscou.

Par Publié le 25 Mai

En réalité, précise Tatiana Stanovaya, du centre de réflexion R.Politik, « les pouvoirs à disposition sont suffisants pour agir face à la pandémie, fermer les écoles, les entreprises… Mais les technocrates aux commandes ont pour réflexe de vouloir satisfaire leurs supérieurs et, pour cela, de ne pas rapporter les problèmes ». Illustration de cette tendance, le taux de mortalité lié au Covid-19. Très faible au niveau national, avec moins de 1 %, il l’est encore plus dans les régions, où les tests sont pourtant moins massifs qu’à Moscou et les infrastructures hospitalières bien moins performantes.

Autre problème, pour la chercheuse, les chefs des exécutifs régionaux n’ont pas reçu « des pouvoirs supplémentaires », comme M. Poutine l’avait promis le 2 avril, mais seulement plus de responsabilités politiques. Le 11 mai, lorsqu’il amorce un déconfinement, le président évoque même la responsabilité « personnelle » des dirigeants régionaux dans ces deux domaines si difficilement conciliables : la préservation de la santé des citoyens et la relance de l’économie.

Ce même 11 mai, en annonçant « la fin de la période non travaillée au niveau national », Vladimir Poutine ne fait d’ailleurs que donner un cap, puisque l’initiative du déconfinement est laissée aux gouverneurs. Le résultat est double : dans certaines régions, dont Moscou, qui ont d’ores et déjà annoncé la prolongation du confinement, l’annonce présidentielle n’a qu’une valeur virtuelle ; dans les autres, les dirigeants jouent la prudence en annonçant des prolongations pour seulement deux ou trois jours, espérant recevoir des consignes plus claires. « Au moment où Poutine dit que les entreprises stratégiques peuvent rouvrir, c’est en réalité partout déjà le cas, insiste Tatiana Stanovaya. Il est possible que son entourage n’ose tout simplement pas lui expliquer les détails ou pourquoi ses annonces ne correspondent pas à la réalité. »

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Commentary for The New York Times

A botched effort to reward people keeping the coronavirus in check leaves doctors and nurses who demand their due facing scrutiny.

Tatiana Stanovaya, an expert on Russian politics, said the “power vertical” has always been a political project focused on protecting the Kremlin from opponents, not on delivering efficient administration for the public’s benefit.

“It has never been effective in routine management. This is not something Putin knows how or wants to do,” she said.
“Nobody deliberately defies Putin or lets him down,” she added in a telephone interview. ‘‘That is impossible. But nearly everyone does it unintentionally because they are afraid of taking decisions.”

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Commentary for Le Point

Covid-19 : le « c’est pas ma faute » de Poutine

En Russie, Vladimir Poutine rejette la responsabilité de la crise du coronavirus sur ses subordonnés et les gouverneurs de région.

Par

Modifié le – Publié le | Le Point.fr

Poutine laisse dire. Et se comporte comme si l’affaire ne le concernait pas. « Il considère qu’elle n’est pas de son niveau et qu’elle relève d’un fonctionnement bureaucratique, souligne la politologue Tatiana Stanovaya. Il se tient à distance parce qu’il veut préserver cette image de grand leader et de visionnaire qu’il se forge. »
« Poutine avait prévu d’augmenter les minima sociaux juste avant le référendum sur la réforme constitutionnelle, poursuit l’experte Tatiana Stanovaya, et il pense toujours pouvoir le faire lorsque la date du scrutin sera connue. Voilà pourquoi il se montre économe. »

En attendant, la grogne monte. Une pétition recueille déjà plus de 100 000 signatures de soignants. Dans la région de Novossibirsk, les ambulanciers menacent même d’entamer une grève de la faim. Qu’importe, les édiles doivent envoyer des signes d’espoir au Kremlin. Tatiana Stanovaya conclut : « Ils n’ont pas le choix, cette crise rend Poutine très irritable. »

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Commentary for The Moscow Times

As the Coronavirus Contagion Grows in Russia, Putin’s Strongman Image Weakens

With an economic crisis heaving into view, the Russian president “looks like an old, sick wolf.”

Commentary for Financial Times

Coronavirus crisis leaves Russian government rudderless

Prime ministerial stand-in faces task of managing pandemic while getting economy moving again

This week 500,000 workers at construction sites and industrial plants in Moscow will return to work, even as the city’s mayor makes wearing face masks mandatory on public transport and warns that quarantine measures will remain for at least the rest of May. “This is well known as the ‘two hares’ strategy: strengthening quarantine as much as possible and opening all the businesses,” Tatyana Stanovaya, founder of political analysis company R Politik, wrote on the Telegram messaging app. “So everyone who can’t work gets a lock on their door and cameras everywhere, and those who can are sent to the shop floor in spite of the risks.”
Commentary for BuzzFeed.News

The Coronavirus Death Toll In Russia Keeps On Climbing, But Putin’s Had Enough Of It

Vladimir Putin wants his regional governors to take responsibility for handling the coronavirus.

Posted on May 11, 2020

Some experts believe that Monday’s announcement was Putin’s attempt to move away from crisis management, something that isn’t his strong suit. (Just look at his handling of the Kursk submarine disaster.) Tatiana Stanovaya, head of the R.Politik think tank, told BuzzFeed News that his handling of the coronavirus outbreak “didn’t really work” and that he prefers focusing on the economy and getting back to the business of strengthening his hold on power.

Putin has appeared perhaps equally angry at, stumped by, and bored with the coronavirus, Stanovaya and other experts have noted. And he has reasons to be.

Stanovaya said that Putin is presenting the decision to lift the nationwide lockdown as something that “will help people” and the economy.

“In fact, the Kremlin would really like to get rid of the [coronavirus] restrictions in order to restart preparations for the referendum on constitutional amendments,” which will pave the way for Putin to rule until at least 2036, she said. A vote for that was supposed to be held in April, but was suspended.

Meanwhile, Stanovaya said she fears the public health situation is likely to remain “really bad.”

“[Putin] is lifting restrictions at the same time we see the numbers [of coronavirus infections] spiking, and we see contradictory statements from officials. They don’t understand” how much damage they are doing, Stanovaya said of Russia’s leaders.

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Commentary for EXPRESS

Putin’s approval rating plummets as Russians lose patience with ‘failing’ coronavirus plan

RUSSIA’S president Vladimir Putin’s approval ratings continue to fall as he is excused of “failing” the country due to his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Tatiana Stanovaya wrote in a recent report for the Carnegie Moscow Centre: “Putin’s detached initial response to the spread of the coronavirus outbreak was at least partly a result of his staff’s tendency to sanitise information and to portray events in the most optimistic light possible.

“Putin’s staff reports about its achievements, not problems.”

In the last 24 hours, the country has reported up to 10,899 infections, marking the tenth consecutive day the number has been above 10,000.

Among the infected is Mr Putin’s own spokesman Dmitry Peskov, local media reported.

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The Putin Regime Cracks

By Tatiana Stanovaya,

  • MAY 07, 2020
  • ARTICLE

President Vladimir Putin’s clever maneuver to dispense with the Russian constitution’s provisions on presidential terms limits will, in theory, allow him to stay in office until 2036. Yet by rewriting the constitution and reshuffling the government, Putin did far more than throw most of the Russian elite off-balance. Putin’s efforts signal that he is building a new political regime that will be more conservative, more ideological, and more anti-Western in its outlook.

Everything is not going to plan, however. The planned reconfiguration of Russia’s political system has been complicated by the collapse of global oil prices and the unprecedented disruption caused by the coronavirus. The April 22 quasi-referendum to “approve” the constitutional amendments is now on hold while the Kremlin tries to deal with both the virus and a new economic crisis. These twin challenges represent the biggest shock the Putin regime has ever faced and are likely to feed popular dissatisfaction.

This article aims to explain how the Putin regime operates and its growing internal conflicts by classifying five different elite groups. For brevity’s sake, it does not cover specific aspects of the Russia government’s response to the pandemic (this will be the subject of future research). Nor does it examine the public dimensions of Russian politics (for example, parliamentary developments and media activity). The focus is on the inner workings of Russia’s main decisionmakers.

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Commentary for Bloomberg

Coronavirus Has Exposed Putin’s Brittle Regime

The Russian president has no challengers, but his failure to handle the Covid-19 and oil price crisis may have long-term implications for his rule.

Significantly, Putin’s personal performance has been underwhelming. His spokesman had to dismiss rumors of a bunker hideaway. Always unwilling to get stuck into the nitty-gritty of governing, he has distanced himself more than usual from a crisis he seems unable to grasp.

He’s delegated responsibility to Moscow’s mayor, Sergei Sobyanin, to a cabinet led by the ailing Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin, and to poorly equipped regional leaders. It’s an odd move after years of centralizing power and resources. While the president has returned to the public eye in recent days, he remains distant, notes Tatiana Stanovaya of R.Politik, a Russian political analysis firm. She says he looks like a man who’s grown unused to having to worry about popular support.

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