Staunton, May 17 – At a time when America and other countries are fighting the coronavirus, Vladimir Putin is fighting America and some other countries as well, talking about wonder weapons that will be capable of destroying Russia’s enemies rather than about vaccines that might save Russian lives, Boris Vishnevsky says.
The Yabloko deputy in St. Petersburg’s legislative assembly says this is a clear indication of Putin’s priorities and that it would be far better for the Russian people if the Kremlin leader were more worried about saving the lives of the population that continuing to talk about building weapons to kill others (echo.msk.ru/blog/boris_vis/2644197-echo/).
But not only is the Kremlin less focused on combating the pandemic at home than in threatening others, but it is adding to the difficulties others face. Peter Spano, a spokesman for the European Commission, says Moscow is spreading fake stories in Europe intended to complicate the battle there (bild.de/politik/inland/politik-inland/corona-demonstrationen-eu-warnt-vor-putins-einfluss-70694112.bild.html).
Unfortunately, the editors of Nezavisimaya gazeta say, Putin is not under pressure to change. Leaders of the various opposition parties instead of presenting alternative programs on how to safeguard the health of Russians are simply carping about what the Kremlin leader has done. That is less than helpful, they say (ng.ru/editorial/2020-05-17/2_7862_editorial.html).
And the gap between the number of cases and the number of deaths continues to attract attention. One medical expert says that the low death rate in Russia reflects doctors’ decisions to record the immediate cause of death rather than its background, early action by doctors, and the possibility that the variant of the virus in Russia is less virulent (ura.news/news/1052432079).
Economist Andrei Illarionov in a detailed calculation says that lethal outcomes in Russia occur in approximately 7.8 percent of all infections, 32 percent less than the worldwide average but far more than the order of magnitude differences that the Russian authorities have been claiming (kasparov.ru/material.php?id=5EC17DF4C8D8F).
Meanwhile, other pandemic-related stories from Russia today include:
· Russian lawyers are complaining about the reopening of face to face courtrooms. They say that it is too early, that many will be frightened, and that as a result justice will be further compromised (ng.ru/politics/2020-05-17/3_7862_lawyers.html).
· Environmentalists say that the international response to the coronavirus pandemic shows what is possible and should be a model for responding to global warming (chaskor.ru/article/koronavirus_vmesto_klimaticheskogo_krizisa_46145).
· Russian medical personnel who treat people with sociophobia hope that Russians, having experienced confined for a few weeks, will now prove more understanding and supportive of those who feel compelled to self-isolate for their entire lives (chaskor.ru/article/nastoyashchaya_samoizolyatsiya_46148).
· Medical experts say that the coronavirus presents a threat to children being carried in their mothers’ wombs but add that they have not seen any cases of serious problems so far (ura.news/news/1052432071).
· Some people in St. Petersburg are blaming the spread of the virus on prostitutes and demanding that police in the northern capital shut them down (politobzor.net/215836-prostituciya-istochnik-koronavirusnoy-zarazy.html).
· More absurdities are being reported in the enforcement activities of the police. Perhaps the most extreme example involved the case of a woman who was fined for violating the self-isolation regime even though she is an invalid and cannot leave her bed without assistance (kp.ru/daily/27131.5/4218983/).
· And finally Russians are debating two issues, whether the quarantine will spark a baby boom and whether there will be a second wave of the pandemic. The preponderant opinion in both cases is negative (profile.ru/society/zhdet-li-rossiyu-bebi-bum-posle-karantina-313134/ and ura.news/articles/1036280235).
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