Wednesday, April 22, 2020

‘No One Should Take Moscow’s Pandemic Statistics Seriously’ – and Six Other Coronavirus Stories from Russia Today

Paul Goble

            Staunton, April 20 – No one should take Russian statistics on the spread of the pandemic seriously, Leonid Volkov says, because Moscow simply hasn’t conducted enough tests – only two million if one accepts official figures -- to know accurately how many people have been infected.  If it were conducting more tests, its numbers would be far higher.

            The Aleksey Navalny colleague says international statistics about the pandemic show that where the number of people tested forms a greater percentage of the population, the number who are identified as having been infected goes up and, conversely, where there are few tests, governments report low numbers (

            Consequently, officials who want to report lower numbers have an expedient even easier and certainly more superficially defensible than lying: they simply don’t conduct enough tests, don’t identify those infected, and ascribe illnesses and deaths to other diseases, Volkov continues.

            Meanwhile, six other coronavirus stories from Russia are worthy of note:

1.      Money transfers from CIS countries into Russia rising rapidly while cash flows out falling, the result of rising unemployment among gastarbeiters in Russia and the desire of their families at home to help them (

2.      Vodka sales have fallen across Russia since the pandemic began (

3.      Officials who try to enforce self-isolation requirements need to know the language people speak. Otherwise, they are misunderstood and often ignored (

4.      Occupation officials in Crimea ask Russians not to visit the Ukrainian peninsula lest they spread the virus, driving down income from tourism still further (

5.      Russians Organize Assistance to Elderly Starving in Self-Isolation. Many older Russians now in self-isolation can’t get out to buy food and are starving, some activists say, explaining why they are trying to organize food deliveries for such indigents (
6.      Yandex Says Most Commonly Asked Question Online Now is ‘When Will This All End?” (

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