Assess and triage (resilience phase)
Russia has suffered 106.3 deaths per million inhabitants, ranking it the 40th hardest hit country in the world out of 150 countries recorded as of 16 August.1
Central communication center:⁴
- The central portal for communications in Russia comprises call centers, web and mobile support.
- It offers medical information on the virus, information on testing, latest news, statistics and policies.
- The portal is also the central point for receiving special pandemic-related welfare benefits (e.g. for families or people who have lost jobs), as well as financial advice for individuals and SMEs.
- In line with the government’s agenda to drive domestic tourism, it also advertises ‘staycations’ at holiday resorts within Russia.
- The portal is also the central point for volunteering to support the health services.
- The platform All.Online (все.онлайн) integrates up-to-date information and access to approximately 500 services “for a comfortable life in self-isolation.”
- It includes free online courses, training to increase digital literacy, digital health assessments and Covid-19 self-testing to support citizens in isolation.
Stabilize and emerge (recovery phase)
Reopening the economy:²
- The government has prepared a RUB 5 trillion national economic recovery plan to navigate the economy through the reopening process and back to a steady growth path.
- While a three-stage reopening plan has been announced, it is up to regional governors to decide when and how to proceed.
- As of 23 July, all regions are in various stages of reopening, with Moscow entering the third stage.
- Reopening is conditional on adherence to safety guidelines, including social distancing and disinfection.
- 74 out of 85 regions have reopened for domestic tourism—a sector receiving strong support from the government. Most domestic trains, flights and charter flights have resumed.
- 70% of restaurants across Russia have re-opened and retail trade is back to pre-crisis levels, but large shopping malls are struggling.
- Approximately 50% of SMEs have reopened, with 13% closed for good and 7% closing.
- Industrial enterprises and construction sites are back in business nationwide, excluding a few Covid-19 hotbeds.
Monetary policy updates:²
- On 24 July, the Central Bank of Russia (CBR) cut the policy rate by 25 bps to 4.25%.
- From 27 July, the interest rate on CBR loans aimed at supporting lending to SMEs (to support and maintain employment) will be reduced from 2.5% to 2.25%.
The CBR has endorsed the following measures:
- Lowering/waiving fees on instant payments using the Central Bank of Russia’s Fast Payment System
- Lowering card-related fees paid by online merchants to encourage the use of online purchases for essential goods and services
- Temporarily allowing banks (during the quarantine period) to open accounts remotely with simplified know-your-customer (KYC) rules. The account must be opened by individuals to make or receive socially important payments (social transfers, alimony, insurance reimbursements, mortgage payments, etc.) or by small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to receive grants/loans to preserve jobs and ensure salary payments to employees
Adapt and rethink (new reality)
Addressing learning gaps and inequalities:
- The Russian Parliament is planning to introduce a package of directives that will update legislation on the distance learning format for all levels of education.
- Various private-sector, web-based tools for distance learning have sprung up, which are likely to remain, post-recovery.
- University 20.35’s goal is more than developing a remote university: it seeks to design individual educational trajectories by working both ‘bottom-up’ (from an individual’s assessed skill-profile) and ‘top-down’ (by tracking the skill gaps for ‘hot’ areas in the economy).
- Since the lockdown, they have worked with 40+ universities on projects to embed this model.
- The program covers their own digital course content, incorporates universities’ content, and even offers extra-curricular activities like ‘digital physical education.’
- Beyond its content for ‘surviving’ quarantine, aspects of the platform are likely to extend well beyond the present situation.
- For example, the platform consolidates online offerings for psychological wellbeing, internet shopping, food delivery, online adult education, childcare advice, remote working, freelancing and job/freelancing applications, all of which are predicted to become more popular in the coming years.