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 (svpressa.ru/blogs/article/286261/
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 (regnum.ru/news/3156007.html).
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 (t.me/COVID2019_official/2295 and kasparov.ru/material.php?id=5FEEDE3FE2641
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 (echo.msk.ru/news/2767426-echo.htmlecho.msk.ru/news/2767428-echo.htmland versia.ru/v-rossii-za-sutki-zaregistrirovano-27-039-novyx-sluchaev-zarazheniya-koronavirusom-i-536-letalnyx-isxodov).
Despite holiday closures, Moscow Mayor Sergey Sobyanin announced that some 100,000 Muscovites have been vaccinated already (regnum.ru/news/3156061.html).
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 (echo.msk.ru/news/2767368-echo.html and https://capost.media/news/ekonomika/v-2021-godu-v-rossii-podorozhayut-alkogol-tabak-i-moloko/).
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 (versia.ru/issledovaniya-pokazali-snizhenie-doxodov-i-urovnya-pokupatelskoj-sposobnosti-rossiyan