In the MEDIA

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.

All articles published by Tatiana Stanovaya and R.Politik’s other editors and analysts will be included here. 

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Commentary for The Guardian

‘Stop waiting for Putin’: Russian president takes backseat in crisis

Putin is working remotely and mainly focusing on cushioning blow to Russian economy

Analysts have noted that Putin’s approach mirrored some other countries, where local officials are tasked with enforcing tough regulations and the central government delivers economic stimulus. The approach would limit Putin’s exposure to unpopular decisions and preserve his public support.

There was another possibility, wrote Tatiana Stanovaya, a Russian political analyst and head of the R.Politik analysis firm: Putin simply does not see tackling the virus as his job. Unfortunately, she added, the state machinery “has forgotten how to act independently”.

“The president expects efficiency from his subordinates, but they have gotten used to merely implementing decisions made by others, and have now forgotten how to generate their own,” she wrote in a piece published by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

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CNN

Coronavirus takes a serious turn in Russia, and Putin no longer radiates confidence

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Commentary for WSJ

Coronavirus Jeopardizes Putin’s Extravagant Wartime Commemorations

Russian president must decide whether to cancel or postpone an event he has long used to burnish his image

Over the years, Mr. Putin has tried to harness the wave of patriotism connected to the Great Patriotic War, as World War II is commonly known in Russia, to bolster his position, analysts said.

Mr. Putin uses such events “to show that society and the authorities are together and united under common values,” said Tatiana Stanovaya, founder of R.Politik, a political analysis firm, adding that postponing the event would be like pushing back a birthday.

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Commentary for Financial Times

Putin leaves tough coronavirus decisions to regional aides

Russian president is distancing himself from lockdown measures, thrusting senior lieutenants into limelight

In a televised meeting last week, Mr Sobyanin warned Mr Putin that government figures showing low numbers of infections underestimated the true scale of the outbreak. And last weekend he announced that Moscow would be placed under near-total lockdown. These moves have left other parts of the Russian power structure scrambling to follow the mayor’s lead. “It’s a strange situation for the Russian government that it has to, in fact, follow Sobyanin’s measures, and it creates some uncomfortable positions,” said Tatiana Stanovaya, founder of R. Politik, a Russia-focused political analysis firm.
“Sobyanin is responsible only for Moscow, but it feels like he acts in a parallel reality compared to the federal government,” said Ms Stanovaya. “On one hand, Sobyanin is a deputy head of Mishustin’s co-ordination council, but on the other hand he has autonomy, answers directly to Putin and has a direct link to the president.” “Most of the measures have been proposed by him but surely approved and agreed by Putin,” said Ms Stanovaya. “Sobyanin will not move a finger without Putin’s assent.”
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Commentary for The New York Times

The Russian leader hates to deliver bad news and wants to distinguish his rule from the turbulent presidency of Boris N. Yeltsin. So he is leaving it to his minions to announce harsh measures.

Mr. Putin, always wary of associating himself with bad news, last week delivered a surprise television address to the nation, warning that Russia “cannot isolate itself from the threat,” but then announced a weeklong paid vacation for the whole country.

This left the streets of Moscow and other cities filled with people enjoying their time off. The Kremlin later had to clarify that the country was not being given a bonus vacation but was simply being asked to stay at home.

Tatiana Stanovaya, a nonresident scholar at Carnegie Moscow Center, said that Mr. Putin’s public detachment from the health crisis fit into what, since he annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014, has been his view that the presidency is not so much a job as a sacred mission.

“This is all connected to his sense of having a personal mission,” she said. “Why should he spend his sacred political capital on a virus?”

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Commentary for La Presse

Russie: l’inévitable report du référendum

Le président russe a beau assurer que tout va bien et se targuer d’un nombre relativement bas de cas d’infections (à peine 1200 personnes contaminées, sur une population de 146 millions d’habitants !), ces statistiques officielles sous-estiment largement la réalité, estime la politologue russe Tatiana Stanovaya.

Celle-ci ne croit pas que les autorités russes mentent, mais pense plutôt qu’elles ne connaissent pas la réalité sanitaire du pays.

Nous n’avons pas assez de tests diagnostiques et ceux que nous avons ne sont pas assez précis.

Tatiana Stanovaya, politologue russe

En même temps, les élites proches du Kremlin préfèrent ne pas trop exposer la vulnérabilité du pays, et des tensions sur la stratégie à déployer face au virus déchirent la classe politique.

Ainsi Sergueï Sobianine, le maire de Moscou, capitale frappée par l’épidémie, tient un discours beaucoup plus alarmiste. Selon lui, le nombre de contaminations est « significativement plus élevé » que les cas reconnus officiellement.

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Commentary for Radio Free Europe

Accused Of Downplaying COVID-19 Figures, Kremlin Clamps Down On ‘Fake News’

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Commentary for The Moscow Times

In First Address to Nation on the Coronavirus, Putin Holds Back From Stringent Measures

The Russian leader also delayed a vote on constitutional changes that could see him remain in power until 2036.

The Russian president also said that all interest and dividend payments leaving Russia will incur a 15% tax — up from the current 2%.

Tatiana Stanovaya, founder of the political analysis project R.Politik, said that the form and substance of Putin’s address stayed true to his history as a populist leader.

“In Russia, the authorities have always been scared to look weak and to instill panic in society,” she said. “They are trying to inspire confidence in the people and to make it look like the situation is under control.”

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Commentary for Foreign Policy

In the Coronavirus, Putin May Have Met His Match

The Russian leader still wants to make himself president for life. But COVID-19 is fomenting new distrust in the state he built.

But while the official response has begun to view the spread of coronavirus as a more serious threat, measures taken by the government appear to reflect political priorities over public health and safety concerns. Putin did not use his speech last week delaying the April vote to impose a full-scale quarantine on Russia. Instead the Russian leader announced a week of paid holiday, introduced smaller-scale measures to boost the country’s economy, and insisted that Russians take the spread of the virus more seriously.

“It looks like Putin is not fighting against the virus, but against his decreasing ratings,” said Tatiana Stanovaya, the founder of the political consultancy R.Politik and a scholar at the Carnegie Moscow Center. “The problem of the Russian authorities is that they are afraid to be seen as weak. They think stricter measures will make it look like the state is losing control and can’t manage the situation.”

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Commentary for VoA

Russia Embraces Quarantine Tactics Amid Coronavirus Surge

By Charles Maynes
March 30, 2020 04:36 PM

Others argued that Putin was merely distancing himself from more unpopular restrictions — at least until they were trial-ballooned by the hapless Moscow mayor — in effect, playing good cop to Sobyanin’s bad.

Putin threw Sobyanin “before the firing squad, and himself remained in the shadows, giving speculation that Sobyanin is acting on his own,” wrote Tatiana Stanovaya, a political analyst with R.Politik, in a post to her Telegram channel.

Stanovaya chalked the showdown to the shifting improvisational nature of Putin’s rule, one in which “circumstances rule.”

“And who rules the circumstances, rules Russia,” added Stanovaya.

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