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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