Saturday, January 2, 2021

Moscow Could Declare Sputnik-5 Vaccine ‘a Foreign Agent,’ Commentator Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, January 1 – Because two-thirds of the components of the Sputnik-5 vaccine are imported from China and other countries Mikhail Sinelnikov-Orishak says, it is entirely possible that Moscow could decided to label its much-ballyhooed national medication a foreign agent (

            More seriously, the Russian commentator says, the dependence of Russia on foreign sources for medications and their components highlights the interdependence of the world and the dangers of thinking that Russia can cut itself off from everyone else except at enormous cost to itself.

            Another Russian expert, however, argues that what is going on with the pandemic is a relatively bloodless third world war in which the introduction of restrictions, large in some places and less in others, means that the pandemic won’t soon be cured by that it will create a new class of winners and losers (

            According to Vladimir Nikforov, chief infection disease specialist at the Federal Medical-Biological Agency, “the problem of the coronavirus is not a problem even of medicine. Two-thirds of the problems it presents are political and involve the redivision of the world.” For Russia, he argues, pandemic-related restrictions are doing more harm than good.

            Perhaps a more immediately serious discussion began over this holiday when bloggers suggested that the idea of a coronavirus the authorities now back may lead to the insertion of a medical page in Russian passports. Many Russians fear this will give the powers that be new power over them and oppose this step in online commentaries (

            The Russian authorities reported registering 27.039 new cases of infection and 536 new deaths, but some observers suggested that the numbers which have fluctuated within such a narrow range in the last few weeks after the earlier spike are not plausible ( and

            Because of the holiday, news reports about the pandemic were down by more than 80 percent, but what stories did appear suggest that the coronavirus continues to spread and that the imposition of restrictions is more common than any easing of them (

            Most Russian cities were operating under tight even draconian restrictions intended to fight the pandemic, but these were often inconsistent and experts say that they expect a new increase in the number of infections and deaths in mid-January (, and

            Despite holiday closures, Moscow Mayor Sergey Sobyanin announced that some 100,000 Muscovites have been vaccinated already (

            On the economic front, officials announced that inflation had risen to 4.8 percent, the highest level in the last four years, and said that prices will now increase on alcohol, tobacco and milk, thus pushing up the rate still further in the next few weeks ( and

            Other bad economic news came from a RGS Bank survey which found that a third of Russians have had to restrict their spending because of income reductions. It did report that 44 percent said they had not yet had to do that (

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