Sunday, November 15, 2020

Kremlin Opposes Anti-Pandemic Steps that Harm the Economy, Inozemtsev Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, November 13 – Like the US government but in sharp contrast to regimes in Western Europe, the central authorities in Russia have been extremely reluctant to return to arrangements that would push down the rate of spread of the infection but limit economic recovery, economist Vladislav Inozemtsev says (

            Instead and again like in the US but not in the EU, Russia is placing its faith in a vaccine rather than in restrictions, even though no vaccine will be widely available for some months and even though experts say many won’t be able or willing to take it and even though many who do will not be made immune.

            As a result, the second wave is hitting Russia especially hard and will likely have a longer and harsher impact on the Russian economy than might otherwise be the case, a fact of life that Moscow is trying to hide by its less that completely accurate statistics about both the pandemic and the economy, Inozemtsev suggests. 

            The daily pandemic toll continues to rise: There were 21,983 new cases registered by the authorities and 411 more deaths, record numbers that have increased the cumulative totals to 1,880,551 and 32,443 respectively ( Those figures likely understate just how bad things are, other data suggest.

            Healthcare Minister Mikhail Murashko says that the number of Russians being monitored for the disease is “almost 900,000,” a figure more than twice what Moscow has been saying ( And new data show that far more children have been infected than has been reported (

            But a clearer sign is that Russia is using a variety of sources, including medical students and teachers, retired doctors, and officers from the Russian military’s radiological troops to provide backup to overstressed hospitals across the country (, and

            And in some places, hospitals are bringing in freezer trucks to store the bodies of coronavirus victims whose families won’t claim them for burial (, just one of many coronavirus scandals ( and

            The situation has deteriorated in both capitals and across the country, with officials responding in varied ways (,,,, and

            The Russian foreign ministry repeated its suggestion that Russians should avoid foreign travel and, if they can’t, plan carefully ( But Mongolia has now solved that problem in part: closing more of the Russian border for passage (

            Lacking facilities to produce enough of the coronavirus vaccine, Moscow has announced an agreement with South Korea to produce the Saturn-5 one for use in Russia and sale abroad ( and

            Vladimir Putin has complete confidence in the vaccine, his spokesman says, but has not yet been inoculated although many other senior officials have ( Reportedly, Russian laboratories have increased their hours to try to deal with testing and production of vaccines (

            And while Moscow continues to insist that fewer than 30 schools have been closed, figures from Sakha alone show how that a large number are working only in part, have extended holidays rather than closed, or have gone over to distance learning (

            On the economic front, the government reported that the Russian GDP had declined 3.6 percent during the third quarter, capital outflow rose to 8.8 billion US dollars in October alone, and the government will be running a far larger deficit than it had reported earlier (, and

            And businessmen and economists do not believe what the government is saying and do not expect a rapid recovery of the kind the Kremlin has been promising for the next year or two ( and

            Meanwhile, in other pandemic-related developments in Russia today,

·         Tomsk officials are offering bounties to those who turn in people who are in violation of the mask regime there (

·         Members of ethnic minorities are being extremely hardly hit by the pandemic, EClinical Medicine reports (

·         A student on distance learning climbs a tree to get Internet signal and his picture goes viral (

·         Plans to boost alcohol prices now will lead more Russians to turn to moonshine and surrogates, further endangering public health (

·         Russian purchases of luxury goods have declined far less than of lower priced items, an indication that those on top are suffering much less than those lower down (

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