Monday, July 27, 2020

Pandemic Will Cast a Shadow on Most Russians ‘Not for Months but Years,’ Gudkov Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, July 25 – The social and economic consequences of the coronavirus pandemic are going to cast a dark shadow on Russia not for a few months as some officials imagine but for many years, Lev Gudkov of the Levada Center says, and many who are tolerating things now in the expectation of rapid improvement won’t be so understanding in the future.

            That is because the rich are getting richer, the top 20 percent are doing better, but the bottom three-quarters of the income pyramid are seeing their incomes fall with little prospect that anything will turn the situation around. Those at the top may not be concerned, but they should be because of rising anger from below (

            The latest economic news reinforces Gudkov’s conclusion. The Bank of Russia has lowered its projections for future growth even from the low ones it offered in April ( And Standard & Poors says Russians this year will have incomes like those a decade ago (
            But for most Russians, the most damning figures came from the Central Bank about consumption. Despite the easing of the pandemic, 56 percent of Russians say that they are having to cut back on the foods they and their families consume, only five percent less than the figure of a month ago (
            But the pandemic continues even though the number of new infections (but not of deaths) is now lower than it was three months ago. The Russian government announced that it had registered 5871 new cases, raising the total to date to 806,720, and 146 new deaths, bringing that toll to 13,192 (
            Some regions saw improvement and opened up further, while others saw a deterioration in the numbers and either paused or reversed the reopening of the economy and public spaces ( Because Moscow city has been doing better, many assume that the country has as well; but that is far from clear.
            As reported yesterday, Moscow has dispatched a brigade of doctors to Khabarovsk, a hot spot epidemiologically and medically. On their arrival in that Far Eastern city, the doctors had to remain in their plane because there was a telephone report that a bomb had been planted there (
            Russian medical officials, while continuing to say that vaccinations against the coronavirus will be voluntary, are pressing Russians to be inoculated against the flu and pneumonia because complications from those diseases may contribute to the spread of the pandemic ( and
            Meanwhile, in other pandemic-related news from Russia today,

·         Russian Aviation announced that foreigners who do not have certificates confirming that they do not have the coronavirus will not be admitted at Russian airports (
·         And Russia’s Old Believers who have long lived in isolation are being affected by the pandemic in unexpected ways, with the followers of this faith having to use masks and social distancing despite their historical isolation (

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