ON A RECENT weekday in Perm, an industrial city of 1m people on the edge of western Siberia, patrons packed Toropomodoro, a popular pizza restaurant. “We were back to pre-pandemic levels of customers by June, and they’ve remained at that level since,” says Maxim Minin, the owner. Russia’s economy shrank by just 3% last year, leaving it in better shape than many. That is in part because the government did not reimpose a national lockdown after a second wave of covid-19 in the autumn. (Russia’s excess-mortality rate—313 per 100,000 people, far beyond that of America—suggests the human toll was enormous.) But it is also because the Russian economy has long experience of isolation.

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