In Russia, authorities have recorded above 87,000 Coronavirus cases, and more than 790 deaths. Meanwhile, Russian doctors have refused to work after they were told to treat COVID-19 patients without using adequate equipment. Experts and political enemies of President Vladimir Putin wonder if the regime might become a victim of the Coronavirus crisis.
Former world chess champion and now human rights campaigner Garry Kasparov said Russian President doesn't care about the deaths of countrymen, as he cares about "Only loss of power," while another doctor revealed that "The government is openly lying."
Russia in the mid of Coronavirus crisis
While talking about the KGB man-turned- president's actions 57-year-old Kasparov said,
One-man dictatorships are dangerous but brittle. If the economic and health crises combine to overcome people's fear of the police, things might change very quickly. Putin's current allies might take the opportunity to turn on him to better save themselves.
It should be noted that Putin who promotes himself as one of the strongest global leaders, suddenly looks weak after the Coronavirus hit Russia and started infecting thousands of people. Compared to the current cases earlier figures showed a 37 percent spike in "pneumonia" deaths, leading to claims that Russia was manipulating data.
Anastasia Vasilyeva who is an eye doctor in Russia, as well as president of a medical trade union and ally of a key opposition leader, said that the Russia government is lying about the Coronavirus cases in the country. As per the reports, she was arrested by police a few days later on a trip to investigate hospital supplies in Russia and fined for breaking lockdown rules.
Meanwhile, several healthcare staff have refused to work in at least five Russian cities after they were asked to work with infected patients without using safety equipment. In the capital, which is the epicentre of Russia's COVID-19 outbreak, staff shifted to critical care duties were made to write resignation letters after refusing to work without protective gear. One paramedic's daughter said, "They want to save lives but don't want to go to certain death."
Russia hospital condition
As per the reports, in footage from St Petersburg, it was seen that patients were lying in bare mattress in the hospital corridors and a health worker claimed that they don't have oxygen cylinders. In another hospital, specialised for infectious diseases, a third of suspected or confirmed COVID-19 cases were hospital staff. Many healthcare employees showed their anger after the dispatch of the plane filled with medical supplies to New York, while they were having to buy such necessary equipment online.
It should be noted that in 1991 when communism collapsed in Russia, the country had a decent health system. After the outbreak hit Russia, it had more ventilators per capita than the UK but most of them are old and many of them are in Moscow and St Petersburg.
Kremlin used emergency funds to help affected regions in the country, but hospitals seeking ventilators understood that they were being grabbed by Russia's rich families planning to self-isolate in splendour. One supplier told Moscow Times, "We've sold everything in our warehouse," while another supplier said that she had such a long waiting list for the £20,000 devices that "we've had to stop taking orders." A member of a billionaire family with a mansion in Rublyovka admitted that they have got one ventilator and were planning to buy two more.
Like the way US President Donald Trump stated on several occasions that everything is under control, Putin also did the same and later he turned up at a Moscow hospital in a yellow hazmat suit where he met with the chief doctor who tested positive for the virus a few days later since the meeting.
Later, Putin announced a "non-working week" but failed to tell his countrymen to stay home. A few days later, officials closed hotels and cancelled flights, while the Russian President stepped back and let his officials announce the lockdown on March 28.
Ben Noble, an expert on Russia at University College London said, "We are used to seeing Putin as a top dog but he distanced himself from unpopular decisions in case they backfired. Now a move he made to protect himself could come back to bite him."