Saturday, May 9, 2020

Pandemic in Russia: More Infections, More Economic Harm, and More Anger

Paul Goble

            Staunton, May 8 – The coronavirus pandemic continued to claim more victims and spread more widely in Russia, with the number of new infections rising above 11,000 and being registered in all but one of the country’s federal subjects (

            Russians beyond the ring road are increasingly upset with Moscow, viewing it as the source of the infection ( and complaining that the regime may be taking care of its own but is doing nothing to help businesses stay open in  the regions or regional governments cope with their responsibilities (,, and

            And Russians both in Moscow and beyond are facing rapidly rising prices not only for medicines but for basic foods even as their jobs appear to be disappearing and their savings are exhausted (, and

            As a result, the share of Russians who say that they are experiencing a deteriorating in their standard of living as a result of the crisis jumped from 36 to 42 percent between the second and third week of April. It has likely risen even more since that time (

            Adding to popular anger is a growing sense that the government has no clear plan for the future either with regard to the pandemic or the economy and that it may devalue the ruble to 100 to the dollar this summer (, and

            Meanwhile, among other pandemic news from Russia were the following stories:

·         Some senior Russian officials are suggesting that the quarantine will have to be maintained until a vaccine is developed (

·         The Russian government has given permission to firms making antiseptics to use alcohol confiscated by the authorities (

·         Russians say that the pandemic has transformed “new construction” into “long-term building” because so many projects have been stopped since the pandemic began (

·         Having experienced working at home, only a third of Russians say they want to return to workplace defined jobs after the pandemic ends (

·         Moscow Mayor Sergey Sobyanin promises to order police to ensure that there will not be any rise in crime among immigrants even though no such rise has been recorded. His order will likely expand xenophobic attitudes and their expression in the Russian capital (

·         The so-called Sakhalin model of combatting the virus, relying on dispersed populations rather than enforced isolation, is working well in Sakhalin but its applicability to other, more densely populated areas is uncertain (

·         Faced with declining sales because it can no offer its products only online, Russia’s Casanova 69 sex shops are now offering milk, tea, honey and chocolate for sale as well as their traditional offerings (

·         And in an indication that there is a rising number of deaths from the pandemic, funeral service companies on the outskirts of Moscow have began what one portal calls “a ritual war” to control access to cemeteries (

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