Staunton, May 14 – In the last 24 hours, 9974 new cases of the coronavirus were diagnosed in Russia bringing the cumulative total there to 252,245. Reported deaths stand at 2305 (vedomosti.ru/society/articles/2020/05/14/830207-koronavirusom). Despite these figures, Russian consumer affairs official Anna Popova says that Russia has stopped the growth in cases (znak.com/2020-05-14/rospotrebnadzor_rost_zabolevaemosti_koronavirusom_v_rossii_ostanovlen).
(As bad as these figures are, many analysts suggest that they represent dramatic undercounts and argue that these false figures, whether they are the result of political manipulation or simple incompetence, are leading to the deaths of far more Russians than honest numbers would (newsru.com/blog/14may2020/data_kill.html).
Vladimir Putin for his part, facing problems with the import of medicines and medicine components from abroad (krizis-kopilka.ru/archives/76267), promised that Russia would come up with its own vaccine and that the country would become “a leading genetics power” (kp.ru/daily/27130/4217323/).
Because of the measures taken to counter the pandemic and rising oil prices, the Russian economy continued its tailspin: a third of all companies said they faced bankruptcy (finanz.ru/novosti/aktsii/na-rossiyu-nadvigaetsya-cunami-bankrotstv-kazhdy-tretiy-biznes-okazalsya-neplatezhesposoben-1029201619), and real unemployment topped ten percent (krizis-kopilka.ru/archives/76255); but Russian banks compounded the problem by tightening rather than loosening credit (ehorussia.com/new/node/20785).
At the same time, ever more commentators suggested that the control measures the Russian authorities have introduced to combat the pandemic will be left in place after the coronavirus threat ends and will then constitute yet another threat to civic freedoms (imhoclub.lv/ru/material/grazhdanskie_svobodi_budut_potihonku_svorachivatsja).
Meanwhile, in other related developments:
· More than 150 of the Russian doctors and nurses fighting the pandemic have died so far from the coronavirus, according to the health ministry (ehorussia.com/new/node/20783).
· Moscow is going ahead with the spring draft even though medical experts say that the introduction of 135,000 new soldiers into the army will lead to a sharp spike in coronavirus cases both in the military and in the civilian population (charter97.org/ru/news/2020/5/14/376405/).
· Ever more counter-pandemic procedures in Russia are proving counterproductive such as requiring those fined for violating the stay at home order to stand close together in lines to pay their fines (sibreal.org/a/30612116.html and svobodaradio.livejournal.com/4423161.html).
· The interior ministry says that violence in the home has not increased during the pandemic restriction periods and that crimes by immigrant workers have not gone up, two claims that many deputies and ordinary Russians reject as untrue (newtimes.ru/articles/detail/194208?fcc and mbk-news.appspot.com/suzhet/chuda-ne-proizoshlo/).