Friday, May 15, 2020

Coronavirus Infections in Russia Continue to Rise as Do Deaths but More Slowly Due to Underreporting

Paul Goble

            Staunton, May 13 – Over the past 24 hours, the number of new coronavirus infections reported in Russia rose by 10,000 to 242,000, and the number of deaths rose as well, but far more slowly, apparently because the deaths of many victims of the disease are being ascribed to other causes (, and

            Meanwhile, doctors are reporting another problem that hitherto has been largely neglected in Russia: Those needing treatment for other diseases, including serious ones like cancer, aren’t getting it in a timely fashion or in sufficient amounts to prevent their problems from becoming significantly worse and possibly resulting in deaths (

            There were two significant political developments: On the one hand, the Kremlin pushed through the Duma approval of a law allowing distance voting, but it was not able to attract any support beyond the United Russia faction, an indication of growing unhappiness with the executive branch there (

            And on the other, what some are now calling “a parade of municipalities,” some cities are breaking with their federal subject bosses and modifying restrictions on people and businesses during the pandemic, increasing still more diversity and confusion across the country (

            Ever more articles are speculating on what Russia and the world will be like after the pandemic.  Many of these project the wishes people have now rather than offering a real assessment of the possibilities. But Aleksey Firsov of the Platform Prognostics Center makes an important point that is often neglected (

            He suggests that the amount of institutional change won’t be that great in the near term but that ever more people will be aware of the fragility of human institutions, something that will increase fears and skepticism but also the willingness of those who are angry to challenge those holding power.

            Meanwhile, there were a variety of other developments and reports:

·         Medical personnel in the regions say that the help Vladimir Putin has promised has not arrived (

·         Businesses when they can find buyers are going for fire sale prices, a true measures of just how much trouble the Russian economy is in (

·         Investigations are continuing into the fake bomb threats to hospitals and airports (

·         Production in some key industries such as goldmining is falling not just because of slack demand but because of the spread of the illness to workers (

·         Makers of palekh and other folk arts have been recognized by the government as victims of the pandemic ( ).

·         Reflecting the collapse of contributions, Patriarch Kirill has cut the amount the bishoprics are to send into central office by 25 percent (

·         Some Russians want to lift the accreditation of Western journalists because of their reports about the coronavirus, but the foreign ministry says that this “is not our method” ( and

·         In a measure of the intellectual sophistication of Russian legislators, some Duma members are now wearing white crosses which they say will prevent them from being infected by the coronavirus (

·         Russian medical equipment used in the treatment of coronavirus victims is catching on fire in some places, prompting the US to suspend purchases of it (

·         And this year, Moscow will not see thousands of Muslims praying outside the city’s five mosques at the end of Ramadan. Muslim leaders have asked that they stay home to avoid spreading the virus (

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