Shock Strategy under Pandemic Conditions: Transformation of the Political Regime and Legal System
10 Pages Posted: 26 May 2022
Date Written: May 8, 2022
The spread of the coronavirus infection COVID-19 in 2020, as a new global threat to humanity, caused the unprecedented social upheaval changing the world forever. In order to combat COVID-19, the governments of various countries have introduced the anti-coronavirus rules accepted by the population mostly quite favorably because of the application of the appropriate media space tools by the authorities. The series of anti-crisis solutions, declared as temporary and formally adopted solely for the purpose of stopping the spread of infection, were used by the ruling group in their own political interests, and subsequently enshrined in legislation on an ongoing basis (shock strategy), thus allowing in a short time and in the least-cost manner to achieve the desired goal — the retention of power of the ruling elite. The shock strategy turned out to be most in demand in countries with the authoritarian government, where the authorities skillfully used the “pandemic window of opportunity”. This article analyzes the special aspects of coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic in the Russian media in 2020, which allowed to form a positive attitude of the population towards changing the ad hoc voting procedure on amendments to the Constitution of the Russian Federation in 2020, which led not only to a significant change in the system of national law, but also finally completed the formation of authoritarian trend in Russia, at the same time “zeroing” the presidential terms of President Vladimir Putin.
There have been also investigated the actions of the Russian authorities aimed at the legitimation of the voting procedure on amendments to the Constitution including the court decisions related to the declared subject of the article.
It was revealed that a number of anti-coronavirus rules formally adopted by the Russian government in order to minimize the negative consequences of the pandemic were used by the ruling group of politicians in their own interests.
The censoring and compilation of information covering the process of combating COVID-19 by the authorities, both through the traditional media and through the use of various websites, made it possible to achieve the goals pursued by the Russian political elite in the shortest possible time. The obtained data have not only a theoretical, but also a practical effect; they make it possible to assess both the legitimacy of changing the voting procedure on amendments to the Constitution of the Russian Federation, and to form a methodology in order to prevent the situation where the ruling political groups take advantage of the quarantine rules adopted in order to combat the spread of COVID-19.
Keywords: Pandemic COVID-19, transformation of the legal system, changes in voting procedures, constitutional reform in Russia
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