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.

@stanovaya telegram channel quoted in The Washington Post

Coronavirus live updates June 9, 2020

Moscow’s strict coronavirus lockdown turns lax overnight

The city’s walk schedules and requirements for wearing face masks outside have increasingly been ignored by residents, and Moscow authorities might have been feeling the pressure from small businesses that have been closed since late March with little government aid to sustain them.

But two key upcoming political events might have also pushed officials to lift the lockdown.

Tatiana Stanovaya, director of Moscow political think tank R. Politik, wrote on her Telegram channel that the decision was “rational not in the context of fighting the epidemic, but in the context of preparing for a military parade and a referendum.”

The latter, a week-long vote on constitutional amendments, would enable President Vladimir Putin to seek two more terms in office.

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La Revue Internationale

Poutine : profil bas en temps de pandémie

La peur de Moscou explique par ailleurs les données peu fiables du gouvernement sur la pandémie. Les gouverneurs se couvrent, pour ne pas irriter le maitre du Kremlin. Ce dernier, conscient du problème, n’entend pas être passif malgré cette prise de distance. « Poutine avait prévu d’augmenter les minima sociaux juste avant le référendum sur la réforme constitutionnelle », estimait récemment l’analyste Tatiana Stanovaya, présidente du cabinet d’expertise R.Politik. « Il pense toujours pouvoir le faire lorsque la date du scrutin sera connue. Voilà pourquoi il se montre économe. » Mais à l’épreuve de cette crise (on estime la chute d’activité à 28%), on ne peut que toutefois mesurer la timidité de la réponse gouvernementale.
Commentary for The Washington Post

In Russia’s pandemic struggles, even Putin couldn’t speed bonuses to health workers

By Robyn Dixon 

May 27, 2020 at 6:32 p.m. GMT+2

One way to stay under the radar could be to understate cases or deaths, analysts say. With Putin’s promised bonuses, the instinct by regional leaders — ingrained over decades — was to minimize payments, fearing trouble from Moscow if they spent too much or paid people not entitled to bonuses.

Some regional officials have even counted the minutes that medical workers spent with infected patients.

“For Putin it’s a very uncomfortable position,” said Tatiana Stanovaya, director of Moscow political think tank R. Politik. “In fact, he turns out to be dependent on regional governors. Putin asks for something, and the government is not able to implement it in the way Putin intended.”

“For example, in the Caucasus region it’s just a total mess,” she added. “The numbers they give are like a fake, nothing to do with reality. In other regions, they’re not very careful with statistics and with these tests.”

Stanovaya said regional officials interpreted the bonus payment order as narrowly as they could: Regional governors are under pressure to prove they are doing a good job fighting the virus, so they tend to minimize the reported infections.

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Commentary for Forbes

Khodorkovsky Warns Putin After Date Is Set For Presidential Power Grab Vote

2 June 2020

Commentary for The Independent

How liberal outrage pushed a homophobic troll video to the top of Russia’s political agenda

Analysis Democratically minded Russians reacted in an ‘awfully stupid way’ by amplifying a pro-Putin advert uncritically, says prominent LGBT+ activist

Oliver Carroll Moscow

6 June 2020

In conversations with The Independent, a source close to the presidential administration with experience of off-book political campaigns described the video as an “attempt to influence” the official July 1 campaign. “Prigozhin tries to muscle in on every movement or vote, and he has enough money for all the experiments he pleases,” the source said. “He regularly, and without any orders from above, does his own thing.”

Tatyana Stanovaya, a non-resident scholar at the Carnegie Moscow Center and keen observer of elite politics, agreed that the video appeared to be Mr Prigozhin’s personal initiative. If the presidential administration had any role, she said, it was to turn a blind eye: “Over the last few years, the presidential administration has chosen to ignore many things, and is losing its monopoly on domestic politics as a result.”

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Commentary for The New Yorker

How the Coronavirus Revealed the Hollowness of Putin’s “Vertical of Power”

This is partly the inevitable result of the Putin system’s longevity; after twenty years in power, Putin thinks of himself less as a politician and more as a “messianic” or “historic” hero, as Tatiana Stanovaya, the head of the analysis firm R.Politik, put it. This period crystallized in 2014, when Russia annexed Crimea and fuelled a would-be separatist insurgency in Ukraine. Sanctions, opprobrium, and attempts at isolation followed—but Russia was again an undeniable force on the world stage.

“If, in earlier times, Putin stood before the people and in some way was responsible to them, he now sees himself as standing before history,” Stanovaya told me. He is consumed with the idea of restoring Russia’s great-power status, and so the tasks that interest him are commensurate with this sweeping mission: navigating an oil-price war with Saudi Arabia and the United States; dispatching Russian forces and paramilitaries around the Middle East to take advantage of the vacuum left by the U.S.; and courting foreign leaders, whether Donald Trump or China’s Xi Jinping. Stanovaya said that Putin sees “social problems,” of which covid-19 is one, as “too small compared to his great mission. They’re simply not interesting to him; they don’t rise to his level.” (Putin, though, relishes high-profile events like the military parade commemorating victory over Nazi Germany in the Second World War, normally held on May 9th. In April, Putin delayed it indefinitely, citing the pandemic; on Tuesday, he announced that it would go ahead after all, on June 24th.)

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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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