The COVID Biopolitics in Russia: Putin’s Sovereignty versus Regional Governmentality
In this article, we discuss the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic as a biopolitical challenge that – along the lines of the contemporary academic debate on biopower – may be approached through the concepts of sovereignty and governmentality. Within this general framework, the authors look at the challenges Russia faces due to the corona crisis from the viewpoint of domestic transformations within the ruling regime, mainly focusing on center – periphery relations as a core element of the power structure in Russia that demands a stronger emphasis on governmentality. We outline several forms of regions’ distancing from the federal center: digital empowerment, the resistance of the North, and the demand for "people’s governors". Our main conclusion is that the relative administrative autonomy obtained by the regions reflects the ongoing process of decentralization of the Russian political system which will affect the structural characteristics of Russian federalism in the future.
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