Staunton, June 17 – Vladimir Putin clearly hoped that having victory parades a week before the referendum would give him and it a boost, but regional officials, fearful of another spike in coronavirus infections have been cancelling them in so many places that the Kremlin leader’s hopes are unlikely to be realized.
Sovetskaya Rossiya provides a current list but says it is lengthening almost by the hour (sovross.ru/articles/1989/49083), and Nezavisimaya gazeta calls attention to the fact that this will eliminate much of the bounce Putin hoped for and have Russians going to vote still focusing on the pandemic and economic crisis (ng.ru/politics/2020-06-17/1_7887_parade.html).
That lack of a bounce may be increased by the story widely reported in the Russian media that soldiers who will be near Putin have been quarantined so he won’t be infected, a clear indication that the rosy state of conditions in Russia that he would like people to accept is far from the disturbing reality (echo.msk.ru/news/2662065-echo.html).
Today, Russia officially registered 7843 new cases of coronavirus infection, the lowest total in more than a month but one that brought the cumulative total to 553,301. Meanwhile, 194 more of Russians who had been diagnosed as infected died, bringing that total to 7478 (t.me/COVID2019_official/832).
Russian officials celebrated the decline and suggested that the daily number of new infections will be below 1,000, progress that most experts have expressed doubts about (lenta.ru/news/2020/06/17/popova/). Medical specialists say that there isn’t the collective immunity in place that would make that possible (svpressa.ru/health/article/268443/).
The virus is spreading in penal institutions (tass.ru/moskva/8748775). Russians are now speaking about “virus unemployment” (vedomosti.ru/opinion/articles/2020/06/17/832878-maskirovka-bezrabotitsi). And ever more doctors are not receiving the promised bonuses for treating coronavirus patients (mbk-news.appspot.com/suzhet/doverennye-vrachi-kto/).
Yet another example of Moscow’s discrimination against everyone else: 70 percent of the emergency hospitals erected in Russia were put up in Moscow, but now that hotspots are elsewhere, none of them can be moved, officials say (dailystorm.ru/obschestvo/vremennye-gospitali-v-ekspocentre-vdnh-i-sokolnikah-prostaivayut-a-vmeste-s-nimi-i-vystavochnaya-otrasl).
In Udmurtia, medical personnel don’t have any protective gear and so have been forced to use uniforms designed for tank drivers (idelreal.org/a/30673802.html). Ordinary Russians are suffering too: most of the sanitizers that have come onto the market doesn’t work as advertised (https://newizv.ru/article/general/17-06-2020/pribyl-protiv-zdorovya-pochemu-bolshinstvo-sanitayzerov-ne-spasayut-ot-infektsiy-beb3e584-158b-4382-81aa-51a6ee02bd00).
Two new vaccines against the coronavirus are now being tested in Russia (tass.ru/obschestvo/8744671); meanwhile, Russian medical experts say that dexametazon which some are using to treat those infected with the virus has serious and potentially deadly side effects (ura.news/news/1052436812).
Yekaterinburg’s Politsovet portal, after surveying the opening and closing of various facilities, concludes that in Russia, “the regime of self-isolation has been replaced by a regime of the absurd” (politsovet.ru/66814-rezhim-samoizolyacii-smenilsya-rezhimom-absurda.htmldoshdu.com/ramzan-kadyrov-zajavil-chto-posle-20-ijunja-v-chechne-otmenjat-osnovnuju-chast-ogranichenij/, instagram.com/p/CBgf5dtF34D/ and vestikavkaza.ru/news/murasko-ogranicenia-iz-za-koronavirusa-v-rossii-sohranatsa-do-fevrala-2021-goda.html).
In some places, people are fighting over whom to blame for their problems (babr24.com/irk/?IDE=201750). In others, even shopkeepers are ignoring requirements they wear masks (kavkaz-uzel.eu/blogs/83787/posts/43719). And in still others there are new spikes of infection (nazaccent.ru/content/33405-v-respublike-altaj-obyasnili-vspyshku-koronavirusa.html).
Moreover, ever more people who are scheduled to work the polls on July 1 are refusing because they fear they might be putting their health or the health of others at risk (ehorussia.com/new/node/20994). And health officials say they expect another peak soon, affecting the economy and public activities like voting (krizis-kopilka.ru/archives/77382).
Unemployment continues to rise, even though ten percent of Russians are now working at home (interfax.ru/russia/713507krizis-kopilka.ru/archives/77334). Gas prices are rising at the wholesale level and are likely to rise at the retain one soon (kp.ru/daily/27144/4237794/). Russian companies can’t get promised aid, and Aeroflot may be partially renationalized (sovross.ru/news/49082kommersant.ru/doc/4380528?from=main_2).
The Russian government seems increasingly clueless with regard to future plans. Experts say that it is putting together budgets for the next three years that act as if there had not been a pandemic (iz.ru/1023661/dmitrii-grinkevich/ne-posmotreli-prognoz-minfin-nachal-gotovit-biudzhet-bez-otcenok-mineka).
Other experts say that even if the government were to begin to do the right thing, its approach would be unlike to restore the country’s economy to a level more than it was in 2006 anytime in the near future and that the situation might continue to get worse instead (vedomosti.ru/opinion/articles/2020/06/17/832879-virusnaya-bednost).
Meanwhile, in other pandemic crisis-related news from Russia today,
· Pupils will not be required to wear masks when they take the unified state examinations (kommersant.ru/doc/4379921).
· Muslim leaders say the pandemic has shown the many ways mosques can play a positive social role (islamsng.com/rus/news/15826).
· Opponents of the Putin amendments say people should wear facemasks declaring that to the polls on July 1 (znak.com/2020-06-17/protivnikam_izmeneniy_konstitucii_predlozhili_golosovat_v_maskah_s_nadpisyu_net).
· Under cover of the crisis, the Russian government is seeking the power to redraw the borders of the country’s national parks without any reviews by environmental groups and institutions (kommersant.ru/doc/4380545?from=main_1).
· Moscow has called on countries in Asia now in conflict with each other to come together to help fight the pandemic (kommersant.ru/doc/4380506?from=main_8).
· Visitors to Russian museums and exhibitions will be required to wear masks when they reopen if government recommendations are adopted (sovross.ru/news/49061).
· Dmitry Medvedev’s thoughts on how the coronavirus should have been fought have made some commentators happy that he is no longer in office (mk.ru/politics/2020/06/17/statya-medvedeva-pro-koronavirus-zastavila-poradovatsya-ego-ukhodu.html).