[Bells ring] [Reporter] The bells from the Kremlin clock echo through a strikingly empty Moscow these days. With holidays approaching, President Vladimir Putin appeared with regional governors today urging Russians not to gather together. [Speaking Russian] [Reporter] We can’t rest, the situation remains very difficult he said. [Russian news clip] [Reporter] State TV is showing scenes of a stretched healthcare system barely keeping up. Though the capital is in better shape than many other places doctors are among the casualties everywhere. Some have circulated a list of more than 70 who’ve already died. Then there are two who mysteriously fell out of hospital windows after being blamed for outbreaks at their facilities. Putin is also under pressure over the
damaged COVID has done to the economy. [Speaking Russian] [Reporter translating] I don’t think there’s anything more terrifying than dying of hunger said this unemployed migrant worker who’s now living on handouts. Impoverished families have received very little money from the Kremlin even though it has a big rainy day fund in reserve. There been protests in the streets and online pushing the government to spend it now. But opposition politician Dmitri Gudkov says Putin wants to spend the billions later on legacy projects. He wants to spend this money within maybe tens of years while he’s in power. [Reporter] Instead, the government says it expects firms like Anastasia Tatalova’s catering company to pay workers whether there’s business or not. She’s been forced to lay off 1,800 people. [Speaking Russian] [Reporter translating] Business pays their taxes and now in these difficult times we should get something in return she said. [Speaking Russian] [Reporter] Instead the Kremlin says it wants to fast-track efforts to get people working again. And it wants a plan in place by May 5th to do that. Chris Brown CBC News Vancouver.