Op-Ed: “Russia has abandoned its people”
Editor-in-Chief of Novaya Gazeta Alexei Polukhin on how Russia refused to evacuate its own citizens who happened to be abroad during the pandemic outbreak:
“Russians do not abandon their own people.” This was the idea on which the Crimean Consensus was founded.
Your homeland will not forget about you, no matter where you are. If something happens, they’ll send some “friendly men in green” to come help. And if necessary, tanks.
If worse comes to worst, they’ll send a passenger plane to come bring you home when conditions become too dangerous abroad.
Now we are all faced with a real and legitimate threat. We are demonstrating social responsibility, complying with self-isolation and quarantine measures, replenishing the ranks of volunteers and resigning ourselves to losing business and sources of income. But in response, we expect that the state will do its best to save each of us.
But that is not the case. Late Friday evening, the operational headquarters of the Russian Government announced that at midnight, our country was winding down the program to evacuate citizens who were stuck abroad. This concerns the fate of 30 thousand people scattered across the globe, from New York to New Delhi. All of them were supposed to return to Russia in the coming week. And no, this was not paid for by the government; it was at their own expense. All the motherland had to do was keep the airspace open. But instead, she shut the door.
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Vice Prime Minister Tatyana Golikova and head of the Russian Federal Service for Surveillance on Consumer Rights Protection and Human Wellbeing Anna Popova felt that this was a necessary step to take in order to protect the Russians living within Russia from those outside the border.
Of course, this is an effective measure in terms of combating the epidemic. Yes, we’ve all heard the famous Stalin quote a hundred times: no person, no problem. Or in this case, no 30 thousand people. And there are 146 million of us here, what are you going to do.
We, naively, thought that the duty of the government and its employees was to protect its citizens. But in fact, officials are simply afraid that those who arrive from abroad will up their statistics.
The curve will get steeper. Reporting and accountability will go out the window. You see, if you evacuate people slowly, one at a time, and not in droves, then the numbers will not rise as rapidly. And if they die – well, it’s not on our land, so it’s not our jurisdiction!
This will be the ruin of the government.
Because these 30 thousand people have hundreds of thousands of relatives and acquaintances, plus the millions of people who will read all this in the news and social networks. And they will say only one thing.
Russia has abandoned its people.