Thursday, April 30, 2020

Pandemic Shows Putin’s Healthcare Optimization Must be Reversed, Audit Chamber Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, April 29 – The pandemic has revealed serious shortcomings in Russia’s healthcare system, many of them the product of the reduction in funding that has accompanied Vladimir Putin’s “optimization” campaign, officials at the Audit Chamber say, noting that they are developing a program that would reverse current trends (

            Galina Izotova, deputy head of the Chamber, says that polls show 41 percent of patients don’t trusts their doctors, a reflection of declines in training, something that has been hard to correct  because in the last three years, the numbers of all workers have fallen by 42 percent to only 268,000 for the Russian Federation as a whole.

            This is going to require the allocation of more funds to the sector. Industrialized countries typically spend about 10 percent of their GDP on healthcare; but even if the increases the government is currently proposing, Moscow will spend only about seven percent of GDP by 2024. Far more money is needed.

            And a poll by the Public Opinion Foundation suggests there is growing support for reversing Putin’s approach to the regions and for continuing the grant of authority to them the Kremlin leader has made during the pandemic. Some 71 percent of people across the country favor that step (

            But one Ukrainian commentator, Sergey Ilchenko, says any decentralization will leave Putin face to face with “a multitude of petty Stalins who will struggle for access to resources.” Since Moscow already has no resources to give them, “besides orders,” this will lead to serious problems (

            Meanwhile, Amnesty International has released a report which concludes that Russia like many other countries has devoted more attention to fighting dissent than to combatting the pandemic, a position the Grani portal fully concurs in ( and

            And in yet another demonstration that any crisis can be used to shift responsibility, Sergey Apoprienko, the head of the Russian Forestry Agency, says the pandemic helps to explain why Russia now faces so many problems with forest fires. Self-isolation is keeping them from taking the steps needed, he suggests (

Pandemic Overwhelming Ingushetia

Paul Goble

            Staunton, April 29 – The number of cases of coronavirus infection in Ingushetia has risen to 679 with a total of 20 deaths, enormous numbers for a republic of only about  500,000 people and ones that are putting enormous pressure on the health care system there (

            Republic head Makhmud-Ali Kalimatov has attracted three doctors from Moscow to help (, announced plans to distribute food to more than 5500 poor families (, and appealed to the population for maintain self-isolation (

            Because of the rising tide of deaths from the pandemic, two hospitals in Nazran have opened special facilities to allow family members to wash the bodies of deceased as is required by Islamic law, an indication the number of deaths is likely far higher than officials are admitting (

            Meanwhile, the Fortanga portal published a letter from Isropil Nalgiyev who is under detention on charges that he attacked police.  He said that the Russian legal system is shameful, that he and other Ingush detainees are in good spirits despite poor conditions, and that the Ingush nation has no choice but to continue the fight (

            Nalgiyev called on Fortanga and all other independent outlets to continue to tell the story of the injustices the Ingush detainees are suffering and to encourage all Ingush to continue the fight to restore the territorial integrity of the republic, ensure that the republic’s constitution and laws are obeyed, and have new leadership in Magas.