Staunton, January 6 – Patriarch Kirill says that those who don’t believe in the pandemic are behaving the same way as those who don’t believe in God. They are denying an important part of reality and putting themselves and others at risk (mk.ru/social/2021/01/06/patriarkh-kirill-priravnyal-neverie-v-koronavirus-k-neveriyu-v-boga.html).
The words of the head of the Russian Orthodox Church are clearly intended both to counter widespread attitudes that are leading people to violate mask and social distance requirements and to boost what appears to be an increasing lag in the expected number of Russians to be immunized against the coronavirus.
The pandemic continued to ebb and flow across the Russian Federation, with officials reported registering 24,217 new cases of infection and 455 new deaths (regnum.ru/news/society/3154313.html and novayagazeta.ru/news/2021/01/06/166924-v-rossii-za-sutki-snova-vyyavili-bolshe-24-tysyach-sluchaev-zarazheniya-covid-19).
Russian health minister Mikhail Murashko suggested that the pandemic situation “on the whole” was stabilizing and pointed to the gradual freeing up of more coronavirus-dedicated hospital beds for Russia as a whole (regnum.ru/news/3157739.htmlregnum.ru/news/3157727.html
On the economic front, polls show that Russians are more pessimistic about the coming year than they have been since the default year of 1998; and proving support for their feelings are reports that nearly one business in five in the regions plans to cut workers over the next twelve months (rbc.ru/society/06/01/2021/5fef23d59a794747b347318c, novayagazeta.ru/news/2021/01/06/166923-issledovanie-pochti-50-rossiyan-ozhidayut-problem-s-ekonomikoy-v-2021-godu and
Meanwhile, in other pandemic-related developments in Russia today,
· Controversy over the introduction of “covid passports” continues to swell with some suggesting these will deepen divides in Russian society (nakanune.ru/articles/116647/).
· The largest Buddhist shrine in Kalmykia has been shuttered for the time being because of the pandemic (kavkaz-uzel.eu/articles/358354/).
· Complaints are coming in that the medical system is failing not only in producing enough vaccine and distributing it fairly but also at delivering it, with delays and sanitation problems (kavkaz-uzel.eu/articles/358331/).