Putin on brink: How Russian President has been ‘scared old grandad’ in coronavirus crisis

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This is because as the number of cases in Russia increases, President Putin’s approval ratings have slumped to their lowest ever. Russia now has the second highest tally of confirmed cases as 318,000 have been confirmed – with 3,100 deaths. However, given the catastrophe that has unfolded in the country, there has been scepticism about those numbers. On Tuesday, CNN reported that polls have Putin’s approval rating sliding from over 80 percent to 59 percent.

This is partly because of the severe economic impact the crisis has had, as unemployment soars amid hits to businesses.

CNN also reported that critics are rounding on the Kremlin, with Putin being accused of being “bored” and “failing to lead”.

Opposition figures have also branded him a “scared old grandad” hiding in his bunker, contradicting his strongman image.

For almost two months, Russia’s economy was at a stand still, with oil prices tumbling, unemployment doubling and those losing their jobs only getting a one-off payment of £130.

Some polls even suggest Putin’s popularity has plunged to as low as 20 percent.

The pandemic’s brutal effect on the people of Russia hasn’t been the only disaster however.

Last week, two fires in hospital wards caused five deaths in St Petersburg.

Five coronavirus patients attached to ventilators died in the early hours after a fire broke out at the St George hospital in St Petersburg.

More than 100 other patients on the same floor were moved to a different part of the building in time to save their lives.

The Russian authorities launched a criminal investigation into the fire.

Four of the casualties were in the ward where the fire broke out, while a fifth patient was in a neighbouring ward.

The prosecutors’ office said in a statement: “Investigators are working to establish the cause of death of the fifth patient.”

One region hit particularly bad by the coronavirus crisis is Dagestan, located off the Caspian Sea.

The Guardian reported today that doctors and activists in Dagestan have described the death toll in the Russian region as “tragically high”.

Ziyatdin Uvaisov, the head of Patient Monitor, a Dagestani NGO, said: “In some towns, five to seven people were dying a day … some have seen 20 or 40 people die.”

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As doubts over the death toll coming out of Russia persist, Moscow has claimed many deaths during the pandemic have been as a result of other causes.

Moscow, the epicentre of Russia’s coronavirus outbreak, has said that over 60 percent of deaths of people infected with the coronavirus in the capital city in April did not enter its death toll tally, and were put down instead to other causes.

Those cases occurred “as a result of an obvious alternative reason, such as vascular catastrophe (heart attacks and strokes), late-stage malignant diseases … and other incurable diseases,” it said.

While the Kremlin denies claims of incorrect figures, Reuters reported how many believe the toll has been constructed by the “party line”.

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