Staunton, May 23 -- Russians are increasingly aware the authorities have artificially reduced the number of pandemic deaths to make themselves and Vladimir Putin look good, with some now saying there have already been three times as many deaths in Moscow as officials say and multiples of that beyond the ring road (rusmonitor.com/leonid-volkov-czifry-smertnosti-dejstvitelno-zanizheny-v-tri-raza-v-moskve-vo-mnogih-regionah-znachitelno-bolshe.html).
One indication of just how many deaths there have been and how much more serious the pandemic in Russia has been than the Putin regime admits comes from the funeral sector where officials are being overwhelmed by the problems of processing the bodies of victims (newizv.ru/news/society/22-05-2020/katafalki-v-ochered-pohorony-umershih-ot-covid-19-oborachivayutsya-lishnimi-problemami).
Russian doctors and nurses lack the equipment they need, with masks in short supply and hospitals in Tuva forced to use the kind of ventilators that burned in St. Petersburg (7x7-journal.ru/news/2020/05/22/rajonnye-mediki-rasskazali-o-nehvatke-sredstv-individualnoj-zashity-rabote-na-iznos-i-strahe-smerti-pervye-itogi-proekta-skoraya-zhurnalistskaya-pomosh, sobkorr.org/news/5EC9385DDF28C.html and novayagazeta.ru/news/2020/05/23/161718-v-tyve-zakupili-apparaty-ivl-ispolzovanie-kotoryh-priostanovili-posle-pozharov-v-bolnitsah-moskvy-i-peterburga).
Like people forced to self-isolate in other countries, Russians are suffering from pandemic fatigue and routinely violating the restrictions officials have imposed (.chaskor.ru/article/den_surka_ili_raspad_obshchestva_46168). But in addition, ever more of them are looking beyond immediate problems and worrying about what comes next.
Many are worried about the second wave of the pandemic Putin has been warning about (ura.news/articles/1036280272), including regime officials who fear it may come just as Putin stages his constitutional amendment referendum and lead to the defeat of his plans (svpressa.ru/society/article/266119/).
Others worry about whether Russia will get out of its current economic slump anytime soon, with half of all small businesses likely to fail and the overall decline in GDP and expected devaluation of the ruble hitting all Russians (krizis-kopilka.ru/archives/76594 and krizis-kopilka.ru/archives/76609).
Many considering the future even more broadly are expressing fears that the restrictions the government has put in place to fight the pandemic will remain in place after it ends and be used to prevent the Russian people from being able to exercise their rights (newizv.ru/news/society/23-05-2020/iskushenie-rabstvom-prava-i-svobody-grazhdan-mogut-navsegda-ostatsya-v-proshlom and kasparov.ru/material.php?id=5EC79718469F3).
And this pessimistic mood informs how Russians view reports of a breakthrough on a vaccine. Ever more say that it is unlikely to work and has been announced only to keep the population calm (ekhokavkaza.com/a/vaccine-without-testing-interview/30630209.html). One indication that it is far from proven is Vladimir Zhirinovsky’s suggestion that it be tested on prisoners first (yandex.ru/turbo/s/lenta.ru/news/2020/05/22/vvzh/).
Meanwhile, in other pandemic news from Russia:
· Doctors say that children now form an ever larger share of those infected, rising from “about seven percent” during the course of the pandemic to 11.6 percent in recent days (vedomosti.ru/society/articles/2020/05/23/830919-protsent-detei).
· A new study finds that about 12.5 percent of Muscovites now have immunity to the coronavirus (znak.com/2020-05-23/v_moskve_immunitet_k_covid_19_vyyavlen_u_12_5_iz_50_tysyach_obsledovannyh).
· The coronavirus is hitting doctors and first responders including police in places far from Moscow, an indication that these people are unable or unwilling to take necessary protection measures (novayagazeta.ru/articles/2020/05/23/85499-rukotvornyy-ochag).
· Russians who are buying up dachas now in order to escape the cities are going to regret their decision in a few months when prices for these out of town residences collapse, realtors say (ura.news/articles/1036280271).
· While some Chechen officials deny that Ramzan Kadyrov even has the coronavirus, doctors and others say that 70 percent of his lungs have been compromised by the disease (rusmonitor.com/soobshhayut-o-tyazhelom-sostoyanii-kadyrova-porazheno-70-legkih.html).