When the world’s media was awash in hysteria about the coronavirus, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov used to make jokes.
He would say that “the worst of the disease” is in Russia.
“The news from Russia is not very interesting, it’s not very scary,” he said in 2009, adding: “What’s more, it doesn’t have any effects on our relations with the West.”
He made a similar point in 2013, when he was a member of the UN Security Council.
Lavrov was right.
The world’s attention turned to Russia after the Russian government admitted to the US and UK that the virus had spread to all the countries in the region.
But even that admission was a fluke.
The coronaviruses had already spread to the countries.
What made the US-UK and the US officials so surprised was that the coronas did not just affect Russia.
It also infected more than 30 other countries.
The pandemic had caused millions to flee their homes, and tens of millions more had lost their jobs.
“It was like a miracle, like a catastrophe,” says Andrei Soldatov, a former Russian foreign minister who worked for the Obama administration and now runs the Russian think tank, the Center for Strategic Studies.
“That was the real shock.”
A former Russian diplomat says that the pandemic, like the Great Depression, was a geopolitical event that could not be prevented.
“There is no doubt that the collapse of the Soviet Union and the emergence of the new world order had huge consequences,” says Sergey Gorokhov, who worked as a top official in the State Duma in Russia’s lower house and now heads the Center of Eurasian Studies at the Moscow State University.
“We have a strong, stable and powerful global economic system.
This is an important point,” he says. “
Russia, like China, has the potential to create a world system that is in harmony with the values of the Western world.
This is an important point,” he says.
“So it is the Russian leadership that needs to be more attentive to the interests of Russia and the Russian people.”
In December, the head of Russia’s health agency, Boris Nemtsov, was assassinated in the street.
The government quickly announced that the killing had been a terrorist attack.
“I don’t think the media can blame Putin,” says Gennady Biletsky, a Russian sociologist and former head of the Russian Institute of International Relations.
“He was trying to make a political statement.
I think that he is not able to do it.”
The Russian media, however, is not entirely silent on the coronava outbreak.
One newspaper, the RBC, is among those that has called the coronaval virus “the plague.”
But it doesn�t use the term in a positive way.
“People don’t like to talk about the plague,” said the editor of the newspaper, Vladimir Yekaterinov, who is also the editor-in-chief of the Moscow Times.
The newspaper is not alone.
In the end, the pandemaker is the one who needs to win the battle. “
But the RIA news agency has gone further, and has said that it would not be wrong to call the pandemics in the Middle East, North Africa, and Europe the “carcavirus” and “famine.
“In the end, the pandemaker is the one who needs to win the battle.
In the US, President Donald Trump has called for a global response to the pandavirus.
But Russia is already losing its grip on the global political agenda.
“Putin doesn’t like this.” “
Trump has made it very clear that he wants to have a good relationship with Russia, but he doesn’t want to use the US as a bully,” said one Kremlin analyst.
“Putin doesn’t like this.”
For the first time, Russia is also facing an existential threat from a neighboring country.
“This is an existential challenge for the Russian-American relations, and the American-Russian relations in particular,” says Ivan Konstantinov of the Centre for the Study of Modern Russia.
Konstantinskov is the head at the Russian Academy of Sciences, and a former top diplomat under Boris Yeltsin.
In 2010, Konstantinoski was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
“What Putin is doing is essentially a kind of ‘blackmail campaign’ against the US,” he told me.
“In the past, he was able to say: ‘This is your problem.
I have to solve it.’
Now, he’s telling Russia: ‘I don�t want you to do anything. You