Saturday, September 12, 2020

Coronavirus Cases in Russia Trending Upwards Sparking Anxiety that in Turn is Being Stoked by Fakes

Paul Goble

            Staunton, September 11 – Over the last eight days, the number of coronavirus infections and deaths registered in Russia has trended upwards, in some places by only a few and in others returning to rates not seen since last spring. Many Russians fear this is the start of a second wave (, and

            After dipping most days below 5,000 new infections and 100 deaths at the end of August, today, as for the last week, the total number of new infections registered rose to 5504 and new deaths to 102 ( and Officials dismissed these increases as “insignificant” (

            The Russian government, however, is concerned by another trend: an increase in the number of articles questioning the accuracy of state coronavirus statistics as the September 13 elections approach. Officials say many of the reports are fake and designed to frighten people away from taking part (

            Whether that is the case remains to be seen, but the real spread of the pandemic has forced election officials to close several polling stations ( And in some regions, officials are having to shut down other institutions as well to try to block the spread of the pandemic ( and

            As two Russian and one Chinese vaccine are being tested in Russia (, nearly half of Russians – 45.6 percent – say they will not get the shots, a figure that means inoculation will not be enough to produce herd immunity in the population (

            That figure is roughly the same percentage as the share of the Russian population that did get flu shots last year (

            With regard to the economy, a VTsIOM poll suggests that Russians have come to terms with their declining incomes as the new normal and are not inclined to view this as a failing of the government (

            Few commentators have challenged that report, but many have condemned as “strange” Rosstat’s new claims that the income of Russians rose during the pandemic and that the population did not want to receive assistance from the government to help overcome the crisis (

            Meanwhile in other pandemic-related developments in Russia today,

·         The foreign ministry said that 309,000 Russians had been brought home during the pandemic and that the number is expected to rise further (

·         Belarusians told journalists that they have no interest in being used by Moscow as “test animals” for Russia’s coronavirus vaccine (

·         And at a time when many Russians are dying of the coronavirus, officials in Tomsk sponsored a grave digging contest. The winner dug a grave of the required size and depth in 52 minutes (

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