Staunton, May 27 – Vladimir Putin’s decision to reschedule Russia’s Victory Day parade for June 24 long before the coronavirus pandemic will be over and even before Moscow will have in place protective measures has provoked two commentaries, one very specific too this decision and a second of a more profound kind.
On the one hand, Moscow commentator Andrey Nikulin has suggested that “it is possible that we will recall this [Putin scheduling] in the same way as we already now remember the May 1 parade in Kyiv” which Soviet officials ordered to go ahead only five says after the Chernobyl disaster, exposing thousands to radiation (kasparov.ru/material.php?id=5ECD4413115C2).
And on the other, it has prompted Business Insider to point out that Putin’s decision to ignore the facts and science in this case puts him in the company of the presidents of the US and Brazil as one of the three world leaders who have mishandled the pandemic (businessinsider.com/trump-putin-and-bolsonaro-anti-science-leadership-worst-coronavirus-outbreaks-2020-5newtimes.ru/articles/detail/194553).
As if to add an exclamation point to Putin’s pen contempt for medical expertise and the well-being of Russians, the head of the Russian government’s pandemic information service says that fears about the coronavirus are “all bullshit” (themoscowtimes.com/2020/05/27/its-all-bullsht-russias-coronavirus-information-chief-says-of-virus-fears-a70398).
Such decisions and statements provide support for those like regional commentator Pavel Luzin that “the struggle with the epidemic in Russia “bears a political rather than a medical nature” and that the only thing being injected into the Russian people by it is a new dose of most unhealthy totalitarianism (region.expert/biopolitics/).
Russian officials announced that 8338 more cases of coronavirus infection had been registered bringing the total to 370,680. They added that 3968 of those infected had died. At the same time, as they are now doing each day, the officials reported that “more than a third” of those infected had recovered (kasparov.ru/material.php?id=5ECE1871F19CF).
But a new poll shows that more than three-quarters of Russian doctors don’t believe the government’s mortality statistics (ehorussia.com/new/node/20860). Their own experiences bely such claims (echo.msk.ru/blog/statya/2649911-echo/), and they could point to a new move by the health ministry for evidence that all its statistics are problematic.
The ministry released guidance telling doctors not to register as coronavirus victims anyone who tests positive but does not show symptoms, a decision that will reduce the numbers (static-1.rosminzdrav.ru/system/attachments/attaches/000/050/527/original/27052020_MR_STAT_1.pdf and snob.ru/society/minzdrav-rekomendoval-ne-vklyuchat-v-obshuyu-statistiku-po-covid-19-teh-u-kogo-net-zhalob/).
Today, ever more evidence came in that Russia has not developed a system to deal with hotspots likely to emerge when the economy reopens (ng.ru/economics/2020-05-27/4_7871_epidemy.html) and that Putin’s optimization has left the country without top flight medical labs needed to develop vaccines (ng.ru/science/2020-05-26/9_7870_medicine.html).
Meanwhile, in other pandemic news from Russia,
· Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov announced that he is completely healthy (newtimes.ru/news/detail/194572).
· More Russians protested the lack of legal foundations for many of the regime’s anti-pandemic measures (kasparov.ru/material.php?id=5ECE360157123).
· Russian museums are struggling to put pictures of their holdings on line and to organize Internet presentations (iq.hse.ru/news/368076865.html).
In many rural areas of Russia, the pandemic has not brought disease but serious economic hardship as farmers have lost the customers for their products (etokavkaz.ru/proizvodstvo/derevyam-bez-raznitcy-est-pandemiya-ili-net).