Staunton, May 20 – In a statement of heartless official contempt for ordinary Russians that will be difficult for anyone to top, Aleksandr Myasnikov, who serves as Moscow’s coronavirus information chief and who earlier attracted attention for saying the pandemic was “fake news,” now say that “we’ll all get it” and those meant to die will die. Everyone dies”
Myasnikov made his comment on his Thank You, Doctor program on central Moscow television (youtube.com/watch?v=QjmQ-nth4e8). His comment came as more than 8,000 more Russians were diagnosed with the infection bringing that country’s total to more than 300,000 (znak.com/2020-05-19/chislo_zarazhennyh_koronavirusom_v_rossii_priblizilos_k_300_tys_chelovek).
Despite these increases, despite Moscow Mayor Sergey Sobyanin’s statement that deaths will rise more in May (meduza.io/news/2020/05/20/sobyanin-predupredil-o-roste-smertnosti-ot-koronavirusnoy-infektsii-v-moskve-v-mae) and despite indications officials are pushing down the reported numbers (kavkazr.com/a/30623728.html), the WHO says the pandemic has “stabilized” in Russia (ura.news/news/1052432567).
There is universal agreement that the situation across Russia varies widely by region, with some having far more infections and deaths than others. That variation is likely to increase for two reasons. First, regions are opening and closing at radically different rates (ridl.io/ru/nedostojnoe-pravlenie-rossijskij-test-na-koronavirus/, asiarussia.ru/news/24300/ and novayagazeta.ru/news/2020/05/20/161615-golikova-zayavila-o-gotovnosti-17-rossiyskih-regionov-pereyti-k-smyagcheniyu-ogranicheniy).
And second – and this may matter even more – some regions are passing the responsibility for opening and closing down to cities (sobkorr.org/news/5EC4F54B7F8C0.html) and others are thinking about allowing districts within the federal subjects to block the entry of people from outside onto their territories (doshdu.com/glava-dagestana-prigrozil-vvesti-propusknoj-rezhim-dlja-grazhdan/).
The Russian economy is deteriorating at least in part because of the pandemic. Business activity is down to about 60 percent of pre-pandemic levels, with small and mid-sized firms being the hardest hit and unemployment rising across the boards (znak.com/2020-05-20/chislo_bezrabotnyh_rossiyan_za_period_nerabochih_dney_uvelichilos_pochti_na_30, krizis-kopilka.ru/archives/76487 and krizis-kopilka.ru/archives/76467).
And Natalya Zubarevich, perhaps Russia’s leading specialist on economic developments in the regions beyond the Moscow ring road, says that it will be a very long slog until the Russian Federation comes back from this crisis (newizv.ru/article/general/20-05-2020/natalya-zubarevich-krizis-u-nas-budet-s-medlennym-vyhodom).
This economic decline makes a report today which suggests that the Russian government never has had plans to distribute money to the population from its various reserve funds and consequently there will be no consumer demand helping the economy to come back (echo.msk.ru/blog/boris_vis/2645751-echo/).
And now Russian experts project that as a result of the pandemic and economic crisis, there is going to be a massive outmigration from Russian cities, reversing the trend of recent decades and creating new challenges both to cities that lose population and to regions that gain it (lenta.ru/news/2020/05/20/ishod/).
Meanwhile, in other pandemic-related developments in Russia:
· The collapse of the Russian economy now recalls what happened in 1991 and may have similar outcomes, some commentators say (kp.ru/daily/27132/4219995/).
· Mortality rates among doctors in Russia are far higher than in other countries, 16 times the rate in the US, an indication of inadequate protection measures (newizv.ru/news/society/20-05-2020/tsifra-dnya-smertnost-vrachey-ot-sovid-19-v-rossii-pochti-v-16-raz-vyshe-chem-v-ssha and znak.com/2020-05-19/mediazona_v_rossii_ot_koronavirusnoy_infekcii_skonchalis_186_medikov).
· The World Russian Popular Assembly says that it believes that the coronavirus may be have created and disseminated artificially by enemies of Russia and demands that the government launch an investigation (nakanune.ru/articles/116090/).
· A senior Moscow Patriarchate official has rejected suggestions by some prominent Russian commentators that the coming vaccine program will be used to insert chips into the bodies of Russian citizens (credo.press/231049/).
· The Russian transportation ministry wants to compensate Russian airlines for the decline in passenger tragic by giving them 195 rubles (2.60 US dollars) for each seat that they projected to fill but didn’t because of the pandemic (snob.ru/money/mintrans-predlozhil-kompensirovat-aeroportam-po-195-rublej-za-kazhdogo-poteryannogo-iz-za-pandemii-passazhira/).
· A new survey suggests that Russian university instructors are not prepared “psychologically” to engage in distance teaching (snob.ru/society/rossijskie-pedagogi-vuzov-okazalis-psihologicheski-ne-gotovy-obuchat-distancionno-oni-zhaluyutsya-na-sbivshijsya-rezhim-i-neudobnye-mesta-dlya-raboty/).
· Wealthy Russians who fear what may be coming are purchasing US-made bunkers to which they can withdraw in the event of natural or social cataclysms (finanz.ru/novosti/aktsii/rossiyskie-bogachi-brosilis-skupat-bunkery-1029216581).
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