Russia has a long history of heavy-handed tactics to address problems. This is not new, but a common pattern throughout time, and something that frustrates many who are at the receiving end.
As fears of COVID-19 spread in Russia, Moscow has taken strict measures to control it, which involve targeting anybody who looks Chinese or is here from China. Recent measures include profiling, spying, and even raiding areas where Chinese are living and minding their own business as a report from ABC News notes.
Russian authorities nevertheless are going to significant — some argue discriminatory — lengths to keep the virus from resurfacing and spreading.
Moscow officials ordered police raids of hotels, dormitories, apartment buildings and businesses to track down the shrinking number of Chinese people remaining in the city. They also authorized the use of facial recognition technology to find those suspected of evading a 14-day self-quarantine period upon their arrival in Russia.
“Conducting raids is an unpleasant task, but it is necessary, for the potential carriers of the virus as well,” Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin said in a statement outlining various methods to find and track Chinese people the city approved as a virus prevention strategy. (source)
As I have noted, Russia will claim “friendship” with China but the reality is the opposite.
Russia could care less about China, and actively hates and distrusts her.
The Russians are using this as an excuse to push Chinese influence out of her nation, and appear to be taking that out on Chinese foreigners. There is a real fear of the virus, but Russia is far more afraid of her 1.3 billion strong population marching into Siberia and staking a land claim. Since Russia’s wealth and power depends on Siberia, she will defend it at all costs, but with a population of 142 million and shrinking, she lacks the manpower to do this, and so must rely on other means to prevent losing not just her wealth, but her place of influence in the world.