Bougie Staycays And Geopolitical Power Plays: COVID-19 Is Getting Wild

Michael Kern
5 min readApr 20, 2020

From new opportunities for dictators and the quarantine ways of the obnoxiously wealthy to genuinely desperate measures to keep people at home in the United States, militant peace in Colombia and a failed attempt to keep women from “nagging” in Malaysia, the coronavirus lockdown is playing out very differently around the world.

Another Opportunity for Putin

In Moscow, coronavirus has proven a great opportunity to roll out a massive network of surveillance cameras and implement facial recognition software to keep tabs on those violating lockdown measures.

Facial recognition is being used to identify individuals who have been ordered into quarantine for 14 days.

According to the BBC, there’s more to the plan as well: The Kremlin is eyeing the implementation of digital passes on mobile phones, as well.

What worries any Russian still holding on to a notion of basic freedoms is what happens after the virus, when facial recognition is used to identify protesters and suppress criticism of the government.

Coronavirus In The Last Dictatorship

Even though it suffers in the face of quality compared to European standards, Belarussian soccer has never been so popular. That’s because it’s the only country in Europe still playing professional games with fans in the stands.

The belligerent country’s long-time president, Alexander Lukashenko, the last dictator in Europe, isn’t buying into the coronavirus panic. He could be using COVID-19 to further crack down on dissent, but he doesn’t have to. He is already in full control.

Speaking to a TV reporter at a packed ice hockey match on March 28th, Lukashenko, insisted that the stadium’s cold temperatures would prevent the virus from spreading, noted that he saw no virus “flying around”, and labeled global concerns over COVID-19 a “mass psychosis”.

The ever-colorful Lukashenko also cited drinking vodka and regular trips to the sauna as ways to ward off the virus.

As such, Belarus hasn’t imposed any movement restrictions. Even the country’s health ministry — part and parcel of the dictatorship — rejects the idea of…

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Michael Kern

I am a journalist and financial copywriter. My work has been featured on CNN Money, Business Insider, The Guardian, Oilprice.com and Nasdaq.