Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Confusion Reigns Over Russian Response to Pandemic as Infections and Deaths Increase

Paul Goble

            Staunton, May 12 – Almost 11,000 additional cases of coronavirus infection were diagnosed in Russia over the last 24 hours, raising Russia to second place among the countries of the world (the US is first), a competition that neither wants to win (

            But the big news was the confusion sparked by Vladimir Putin’s decision to end the days off Russians have been even as deaths are increasing and the leaders of some regions are loosening restrictions even as others are continuing those in place or making them tougher (, and

            This has led to massive confusion and equally massive criticism of Putin for allowing this situation to arise ( and But in the midst of this officials pointed to one ironic development: despite the coronavirus deaths, the mortality rate in Russia has fallen during the pandemic (

            Meanwhile, there were a swath of other stories about the pandemic in Russia today:

·         Only about a third of those diagnosed with coronavirus in Russia are in fact admitted to hospitals (

·         Two Russian women fleeing from violence in their homes were arrested and fined because they were not wearing protective masks (

·         Tour operators want to be allowed to compensate those who had paid for foreign travel by giving them vouchers for trips within the Russian Federation (

·         Many Russians beyond the ring road believe that if Moscow were sealed off from the rest of the country, the pandemic could be contained in the capital; but studies show that there is too much movement between the regions and the capital even now to allow that to work (

·         200 journalists in Russia have been infected with the coronavirus and five have died ( Meanwhile, Putin’s press secretary Dmitry Peskov has announced that he is infected and has checked into a hospital (

·         Home confinement has driven the number of automobile accidents down by 43 percent overall and in some regions by “almost 90 percent” ( And it has pushed down new car sales by 70 percent (

·         Medical personal have been identified as a major source of the spread of the virus in  Russia and officials are seeking to protect them and prevent them from transmitting the disease to others ( and

·         Sakhalin which is using the low density of its population to protect itself against the virus has now introduced digital passes to regulate the entry of people from elsewhere (

·         Russia’s rich have changed their purchasing patterns during the pandemic but continue to spend large sums on furniture, cars and jewelry (

·         The government of Buryatia has struck a medal to be given to those who have distinguished themselves in the fight against the pandemic (

·         Officials say the pandemic is putting a crimp in the Russian space program by making it more difficult to get needed supplies and to have personnel moved about (

·         Russian cemeteries have established special rules for handling those who have died from the virus, an indication that the number of deaths is large, growing and far greater than officials acknowledge (

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