Staunton, June 27 – Since the start of the pandemic, many Russians have expressed doubts about the accuracy of official figures on infections and deaths supplied by the State Statistical Agency, Rosstat. Some are now calling for making it an independent body subordinate only to the president or the parliament (mk.ru/economics/2020/06/27/pochemu-dannye-rosstata-zachastuyu-ne-sootvetstvuyut-realnomu-polozheniyu-del.html).
The official statistics continue to come out and now show a positive trend downward. Over the past 24 hours, 6852 new infections were officially registered bringing the cumulative today to 627,646; and the number of deaths numbered 188, bringing the total so far to 8959 (стопкоронавирус.рф/information/).
But reports continue to come in that suggest these may be undercounts, especially in the runup to the referendum. In Stavropol Kray, for example, 50 members of regional electoral commissions were found to have been infected. It is not clear whether they have been officially counted as yet (kommersant.ru/doc/4396648).
Meanwhile, via a video hookup, Vladimir Putin thanked the thousands of Russians who
have volunteered to help ease the coronavirus crisis there (stoletie.ru/lenta/putin_vysoko_ocenil_vklad_volontorov_v_borbu_s_covid-19_364.htm).
Just how far from the victory over the pandemic Russia still is was underscored by a researcher who said that the country would need to produce “on the order of 70 million doses” of any vaccine in order to form “collective immunity” within the population (ria.ru/20200627/1573545031.html).
And a new investigation found that Russia’s regions have spent “billions of rubles” on hospital equipment to fight the pandemic but that in many cases, the equipment while it has been paid for has not been delivered and put into use (dailystorm.ru/rassledovaniya/ivl-na-potom-regiony-potratili-milliardy-rubley-na-apparaty-kotorye-popadut-v-bolnicy-tolko-posle-pandemii).
Russian regions and cities are in many cases rushing to open facilities like day care and children’s camps that Moscow says should not be opened until the third stage of recovery even though most of them are not yet out of the first (ru.chuvash.org/news/5348.htmltass.ru/moskva/8830045).
Economic news continues to be grim. The Central Bank has announced that in June “the economy stabilized” but at a very much lower level than even a month before, adding that there are yet no signs yet of significant recovery in most sectors (cbr.ru/Collection/Collection/File/27982/finflows_20200625.pdf).
And officials said that Russia is projected to export 42 percent less oil to Europe in July than in June, bringing the total figure to a level not seen since 2003 (krizis-kopilka.ru/archives/77669).
There were three other noteworthy pandemic-related developments in Russia over the last 24 hours:
· The Russian government backed down on requiring hotels and resorts to prove that they had not given rooms to unrelated people and requiring those who want to visit resorts to provide proof that they had tested negative for the coronavirus (mbk-news.appspot.com/suzhet/koronavirus-v-rossii-xronika/).
· The Presidential Administration continues to pay seven times what ordinary Russians do for facemasks, profiting someone but not the Russian taxpayer (znak.com/2020-06-26/struktura_administracii_prezidenta_kupila_maski_v_7_raz_dorozhe_chem_drugie_gosuchrezhdeniya).
And Moscow has introduced a new requirement for migrants who seek to get a patent to work in Russia. They must now submit to a test for the presence of coronavirus infections (fergana.agency/news/119559/