Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Pandemic has Made 2020 Watershed Year for Russians Much Like 1917, Kholmogorov Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, January 4 – Russians may soon treat the pandemic year 2020 much as they do the revolutionary one of 1917, one that divides everything into “before” and “after” and that will spark continuing speculation about what life would have been like if the events of these years had not happened, commentator Yegor Kholmogorov says (apn.ru/index.php?newsid=39126).

            He suggests that after what he describes as “the catastrophe” of 2020, Russians will debate the future by talking about what happened and what might have happened had there not been any pandemic, an approach that will structure discussions in a way very different from those which have taken place up to now.

            Today, as the pandemic continued to ebb and flow across the country (regnum.ru/news/society/3154313.html), the Russian government registered 23,351 new cases of coronavirus infection and 482 new deaths, both down from recent days but that bring the respective totals to 3,260,138 and 58,988 (https://t.me/COVID2019_official/2305).

            The holidays are having an impact on the number of hospitalizations and testing, as people try to avoid medical procedures during celebrations (regnum.ru/news/3156900.html). St. Petersburg eased restrictions on public dining places, leaving in place only a complete ban on their operations between 2300 and 0600 (regnum.ru/news/3156550.html).

            Meanwhile, media in a few places are reporting that local people are refusing to wear masks or practice social distancing, especially when they go into stores (e.g., regnum.ru/news/3156736.html).

            On the vaccine front, Vladimir Putin said he would consider the issue of issuing certificates to those who have been vaccinated (regnum.ru/news/3156797.html), even as analysts said the still low level of willingness of Russians to be vaccinated is the result of what they called “medical terrorism” involving disinformation about the Russian vaccine (svpressa.ru/health/article/286375/).

            And on the economic front, Bloomberg’s Billionaires Index reported that the wealthiest of Russians had seen their wealth grow by 21 billion US dollars over the last year, even as the incomes of most Russians fell (bloomberg.com/billionaires/).

            Meanwhile in other pandemic-related developments in Russia today,

·         A Petersburg man fell down dead in an apothecary shop while waiting to purchase drugs to treat his coronavirus infection (regnum.ru/news/3156813.html).

·         The dangers of infection are now so great that a leading infectious disease specialist is warning residents of Russian cities to avoid taking long walks at this time (ria.ru/20210104/poezdki-1591945492.html).

·         The KPRF is blaming Moscow Mayor Sergey Sobyanin for implementing Vladimir Putin’s health optimization program which  left the city without the medical facilities needed to treat victims of the pandemic (rusmonitor.com/moskva-sobyaninskaya-optimizacziya-medicziny-privela-k-katastrofe-v-period-pandemii-covid-19.html).

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