In Russia’s pandemic struggles, even Putin couldn’t speed bonuses to health workers
Medical workers were dying in their hundreds — 308 according to an unofficial count by medics. Many who kept working were not getting paid long-promised bonuses until recently. Some were even earning less money because the pay rate for working with covid-19 patients was lower than for their pre-pandemic jobs, such as surgeons.
The snags in delivering Putin’s bonus promise is more than just one bureaucratic glitch. It’s about a top-down governance system with underlings terrified to act. It also helps inform some of the larger truths in Russia’s struggle to control the pandemic even as countries to the west in Europe begin to lift their lockdowns.
Putin’s centralized power structure cannot handle the crisis alone. The president delegated much of the burden to regional officials, who were frightened of drawing attention to local problems and risking Moscow’s wrath.
One way to stay under the radar could be to understate cases or deaths, analysts say. With Putin’s promised bonuses, the instinct by regional leaders — ingrained over decades — was to minimize payments, …continued .
[Source: Washington Post]