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Before COVID became the center of international news coverage, much attention was being paid to Vladimir Putin’s sudden reorganization of the Russian government and proposed overhaul of the Constitution, which has seen little change since 1993. Naturally, Vladimir Vladimirovich did not attempt to bring about these changes with a spirit of liberal democracy and healthy regime change in mind (indeed, some would say that it is very unhealthy to even think about regime change in Russia). The spread of the virus, though, which he was unable to halt even after closing the Russian border with China in January, put a wrench in his plans.
Russia is still, right now, the third most affected country in the world with at least half a million cases (this is data compiled and released by Putin’s government, after all), and a health system that is not up to the challenge in a multitude of ways. Putin was well aware of this, which is why he closed the border so early and implemented a strict lockdown when the situation started to deteriorate. But now, more important concerns are at hand. The President has pressured the Moscow government into lifting restrictions, and, after a holiday celebration today, has planned a concert for tonight in Red Square. These moves come in plenty of time to get people comfortable with going outside and attending rallies ahead of a July 1 vote on the changes.More