Covid-19 is Putin’s perfect storm – his response, not the constitutional referendum, will decide his political future | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED

Covid-19 is Putin’s perfect storm – his response, not the constitutional referendum, will decide his political future

In his coronavirus address, Vladimir Putin promised to squeeze the rich and install safety nets for the vulnerable. With the Russian economy additionally hammered by the oil price drop, this begins the true test of his presidency.

On Wednesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin made his first direct appeal to the nation since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic. This was Putin’s most somber address to the Russians in his two decades in power, with the Russian leader essentially admitting that the country faces a grave economic crisis due to the spreading coronavirus disease and an imminent global recession.

In a televised address, Putin called on the population to stay home for safety and mandated national paid leave for all non-essential workers until April 5. However, the main emphasis of his speech was on financial and fiscal measures to sustain ordinary people's livelihoods and help small and medium-sized businesses survive the crisis. The measures focus on providing additional safety nets for families with children, people who go on sick leave and those who could lose jobs. For example, the minimal unemployment benefit will be increased from 8,000 to 12,000 rubles a month. Putin announced tax and credit holidays for small and medium enterprises for the next six months and promised permanent reduction of some taxes on SMEs.

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