Putin Exploits Coronavirus to Justify Centralized Russian Power

MOSCOW—The coronavirus pandemic has given Russian President Vladimir Putin a contemporary opportunity to generate home for fearful Russians a recurring concept of his extended reign: Western liberal democracies are weak, globalism is fragile and the Russian product of centralizing ability in a solid chief is top-quality in moments of crisis.

In the course of a great deal of the pandemic, the Kremlin chief has sought to job strength and serene, assuring his people today that the spread of the new coronavirus is beneath command in Russia, even as it has killed 14,000 and…

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