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EMERGENCY STATE REGULATION TO PREVENT THE SPREAD OF COVID-2019 IN RUSSIA: BUREAUCRATIC LOGIC OF DECISION-MAKING AND MEDICALIZATION OF EVERYDAY LIFE AT THE BEGINNING OF THE PANDEMIC

Tatiana Kuksa (tutosha@gmail.com)

Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, Russia; National Research University “Higher School of Economics”, Moscow, Russia

Citation: Kuksa T. (2020) Chrezvychaynoye gosudarstvennoye regulirovaniye predotvrashcheniya rasprostraneniya COVID-2019 v Rossii: byurokraticheskaya logika prinyatiya resheniy i medikalizatsiya povsednevnosti v nachale pandemii [Emergency state regulation to prevent the spread of COVID-2019 in Russia: bureaucratic logic of decision-making and medicalization of everyday life at the beginning of the pandemic]. Zhurnal sotsiologii i sotsialnoy antropologii [The Journal of Sociology and Social Anthropology], 23(4): 183–203 (in Russian). https://doi.org/10.31119/jssa.2020.23.4.7

Abstract. The article proposes a textual analysis of emergency by-law rule-making and decisions of federal and regional authorities of the Russian Federation, faced with the need to take strict antivirus measures in the spring of 2020 to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in Russia. Due to the neutral “silence” of the President of the Russian Federation, the active and targeted activity of the Government of the Russian Federation (including non-financial ones), the unlimited departmental rule-making of Rospotrebnadzor and the implementation of the “high alert mode” by the heads of the constituent entities of the Russian Federation in the spring of 2020, emergency and anti-epidemic state measures were introduced significant restrictions activities and movements of persons, including through digital permits, digital control / monitoring and the criminalization of rule violations. At the beginning of the pandemic, restrictions and prohibitions were compulsory and total in nature, legalized the emergency medicalization of everyday life, therefore they received new designations in bureaucratic and philistine discourses — “high alert mode”, “social distancing”, “self-isolation”, “lockdown”, “quarantine”, “social monitoring”, “digital access control”, “distance working / education”. As a result, the heads of the constituent entities of the Russian Federation, certain professional groups (doctors, entrepreneurs, officials, controllers) and ordinary people turned out to be extremely vulnerable in the new unsafe and medicalized reality, knowingly guilty of (bio) ethical and legal meanings in their actions and decisions — as (not) introducing emergency / extraordinary government measures, as well as (not) fulfilling professional duties and deviating from numerous and confusing emergency rules. In this paper, I illustrate the bureaucratic logic of key government actors making emergency spring decisions to prevent the spread of coronavirus infection (2019-nCoV) at the beginning of a pandemic, as well as the legality and effectiveness of “tight government regulation”. The materials for the analysis are more than 60 regulatory legal acts and several hundred regulatory and recommendatory documents adopted and amended at the beginning of the pandemic (in the spring of 2020), as well as used to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in Russia and Moscow.

Keywords: the mode of increased readiness, restrictive measures (quarantine), (self-)isolation, restrictions on the rights; medicalization of everyday life.

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