The Kremlin has denied that Moscow was too hasty in lifting its coronavirus lockdown on Tuesday, amid accusations that the move is linked to Russian president Vladimir Putins plans for a military parade and a vote that could allow him to extend his rule.
Moscows more than 12 million residents can now move around the city without restrictions or the need to obtain a digital pass, after mayor Sergei Sobyanin announced the phased lifting of rules that were introduced on March 30th.
The city accounts for 198,590 of Russias 485,253 cases of coronavirus. The country reported 8,595 new cases on Tuesday, 1,572 of which were in Moscow – the citys smallest daily rise since April 16th. The national death toll from Covid-19 stands at 6,142, but the accuracy of Russias data has been widely questioned.
After being notable earlier in the pandemic for insisting on a strict lockdown, Mr Sobyanins decision to lift restrictions while the daily number of new infections remains high surprised many Muscovites.
Air of normality[hhmc]
Kremlin critics including Alexei Navalny say the reason for Mr Sobyanins turnaround is the need to create an air of normality before a huge June 24th military parade on Red Square and a July 1st national vote on constitutional changes, which would “reset” Mr Putins presidential term limit and allow him to rule until 2036.