Andrei Soldatov:
How the ‘1984’ Scenario Failed in Moscow

A gradual acceptance of increased government control could have possibly come true in 2020 Moscow. But the authorities’ sheer incompetence coupled with bureaucratic arrogance ruined this chance.

It started out like a bad dream: sleepwalking into an abyss.

On Saturday, April 11, Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin announced the introduction of special digital passes in Moscow, starting on Wednesday, April 15.

The panic kicked off immediately, caused by confusion and a lack of detail in the mayor’s decree — and many Muscovites who had left the city for self-isolation in their country houses rushed back to the city.

They were right to be over-cautious, as they were met with police checkpoints. Policemen were busy stopping cars but provided controversial explanations: Rumors spread that the goal was to prevent cars with non-Moscow license plate numbers from entering the city, but checks were arbitrary and explanations varied from checkpoint to checkpoint.

[Read the full comment on Moscow Times]

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