Saturday, November 14, 2020

Pandemic Putting as Much Stress on Russians as the 1990s Did

Paul Goble

            Staunton, November 12 – The coronavirus pandemic is putting as much stress on Russians as did the difficult transition years of the 1990s, experts say; but those who need psychiatric help are finding it more difficult to get and Russians lack a sense that they are all in this together (, and

            The latest statistics continue to be dire: The authorities registered 21,608 new cases of infection, bringing that total to 1,858,568, and 439 new deaths, a new 24-hour record, upping that toll to 32,032 ( Hospitals are filling to the point that treatment for those suffering from other illnesses are being forced to wait while pandemic victims receive treatment (

            There were only three positive numbers: immunity to the disease has now risen in the regions to 65.3 percent, an indication of just how many have been infected there ( The number of schools completely closed is still below 30 but many have extended holidays or are partially shuttered reducing the significance of that figure (

            And in response to rising rates of infection, Moscow is pushing for more tests, with the number administered during the last day reaching 591,000 ( and A different figure, the number of Russians who have been infected who remain under a doctor’s supervision, has reached 439,000, another stress on the country’s already overloaded medical system (

            The pandemic continues to spread across the country, and while things are tough in the capitals, they are far worse in many outlying regions, the result of Putin’s cutbacks in medical care and orders from Moscow that the regions overcome the pandemic without harming the economy (,, and

            Perhaps the hardest hit groups in per capita terms are ones that the Moscow media almost never refer to, the 250,000 members of the numerically small nationalities of the Russian North and Far East. Many of them are suffering far worse that surrounding Russian groups (

            On the vaccine front, Moscow experts continued to claim that the Russian vaccine is better than any of the Western competitors, said that the WHO may soon recommend Sputnik-5, but acknowledged that Russia, because of bottlenecks in its pharmaceutical industry, may not be able to produce enough of the vaccine and is currently seeking help from foreign producers (, and

            As far as the economy is concerned, Moscow experts said that the prices for goods of first necessity may begin to rise in the coming weeks ( and that capital outflow is accelerating because there is nowhere inside Russia to invest given the pandemic (

            To the relief of small and mid-sized businesses, Moscow has extended the tax holiday on them through the rest of the year (, a success. But another government program, an amnesty for immigrant workers is failing because people in this category don’t trust the authorities to live up to their promises (

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

·         In terms of Internet posts, those who oppose getting the coronavirus vaccine vastly outnumber those who favor being immunized (

·         During the pandemic, the number of Russians and especially older ones taking part in volunteer activities has dramatically risen (

·         New polls show that the pandemic has caused Russians to have greater faith in official news outlets (

·         The owners of super-luxury apartment blocs in Moscow are  modifying them so that their clients will not have to leave the building for anything in the event of a new lockdown (

·         And some Russians are beginning to complain becauase the government has not erected a monument to the victims off the pandemic (

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