“Putin has lost touch with reality,” said Tatiana Stanovaya, founder of the R.Politik political analysis project. “It seems like he doesn’t understand which country he is in.”
Other than striding into Moscow’s main coronavirus hospital at the end of March clad in a yellow hazmat suit and respirator, the president has abandoned his usual strong leader image for most of the outbreak. He has appeared on state television weekly in video conferences with cabinet and regional officials, but has appeared bored, slouching back in his chair and playing with a penrather than paying attention.
Insulated by people who give him good news to avoid his ire and lacking the interest to dig into the details after two decades in power, Stanovaya said, Putin appears not to grasp the full complexity of Russia’s outbreak.
“He has transformed from a politician into a missionary, feeling responsibility to history, not the people,” she added. “Geopolitical games are interesting for him; lockdown is boring.”