Staunton, July 28 – Today, according to official figures, more Russians have died from the coronavirus than did during nine years of the Soviet war in Afghanistan, a measure of just how hard the pandemic has hit their country even if one accepts the official figures which almost all observers say understate the problem (forum-msk.org/material/news/16601601.html).
Moscow officials said that 150 more deaths from the pandemic had been recorded over the last 24 hours, bringing that total to 13,504. Also during the last day, there were registered 5395 new cases of infection, bringing that total to 823,515 (t.me/COVID2019_official/1147).
The number of new infections continued to fall, although today’s death toll rose compared to the last week. But those figures ignored the variations across the Russian Federation. In some regions, infections have risen dramatically while in others they have fallen, with restrictions generally tracking these rates (regnum.ru/news/society/3016015.html).
For many Russians, the most important restriction on their lives did not go away: the EU has not put Russia on the list of countries whose nationals do not have to undergo testing in order to enter its member countries. EU officials said that “unfortunately statistics say that it is too early to do that” (tass.ru/mezhdunarodnaya-panorama/9065233).
The Barents Observer highlighted why this is the case. It compared coronavirus figures in the western portions of the Russian Federation with those in Norway and Finland and found that the Russian figures continue to be much higher (thebarentsobserver.com/en/life-and-public/2020/07/murmansk-region-alone-has-more-covid-19-infections-norway-and-finland).
One place where infections have increased in Khabarovsk, a trend officials blame on the protests there (regnum.ru/news/3021420.html). Another are popular domestic vacation destinations, like Krasnodar Kray and Russian-occupied Crimea, where people are taking fewer precautions and the virus is spreading with new force (mbk-news.appspot.com/suzhet/otdyx-v-pandemiyu-chto/).
Fears of a second wave are spreading as well. Doctors, however, say that a new and more aggressive strain of the virus from Vietnam is part of the first wave not a harbinger of the second (ura.news/news/1052442625). And Superjob reports that only 12 percent of Russians are preparing for a second round of self-isolation (regnum.ru/news/3021557.html).
Government officials are also preparing for a new wave of the pandemic, although they are playing down the risk by suggesting that this program, which would keep many things open that were shut down in the first, is only “Plan B” (versia.ru/v-rossii-gotovyat-plan-b-dlya-magazinov-i-obshhepita-na-sluchaj-vtoroj-volny-covid-19
regnum.ru/news/3021781.html), and doctors are using with some success drugs developed for alcoholism and cancer against the virus (https://iq.hse.ru/news/382735394.html).
Economic news at both the macro and micro level continued to be dire. One economist says Russia is at risk of default (business-gazeta.ru/article/476122). More than 40 percent of Russians say they sometimes don’t have enough money to last until their next paychecks (agoniya.eu/archives/7251). And 30 to 40 percent of immigrant workers in Russia are now unemployed, (rosbalt.ru/piter/2020/07/28/1855994.html).
To deal with the fact that many Russians may be out of work for lengthy periods of time, two officials have come up with a plan to provide all Russians with certificates that could become the basis for the Russian government to provide minimum incomes for all (eastrussia.ru/material/eksperty-predlozhili-dat-vsem-rossiyanam-sertifikaty-na-poteryannye-dokhody/).
Meanwhile, in two other pandemic-related developments in Russia today,
· Automobile dealers say that selling cars online has become extremely popular since the onset of the pandemic (regnum.ru/news/3021693.html).
· And a municipal deputy has brought a class action suit against Putin for violating the rights of children over 16 by not giving them the subsidies they should have received (tvrain.ru/news/k_putinu_podali_kollektivnyj_isk_o_narushenijah_prav_detej_starshe_16_let_iz_za_koronavirusnyh_vyplat-513307/).