Staunton, August 13 – Under the pretext of fighting the pandemic, the Kremlin has introduced a variety of measures, some enshrined in laws and others as directives, that fundamentally violate the rights of Russian workers, lawyers for the Agora international human rights organization say (https://agora.legal/fs/a_delo2doc/201_file___.pdfnovayagazeta.ru/news/2020/08/13/163728-agora-kolichestvo-narusheniy-trudovyh-prav-v-rossii-vyroslo-v-desyatki-raz-na-fone-pandemii-koronavirusa).
Some of these violations will be extinguished when the pandemic passes, the report says; but there is a danger that many of the steps taken in the name of fighting the pandemic will remain in place even after the coronavirus is brought under control or become models for additional moves against worker rights.
Russian political leaders continue to celebrate the coronavirus vaccine as a triumph of Russian scholarship and officialdom, even though ever more experts in Russia and abroad are questioning whether it is either effective or safe (regnum.ru/news/3035811.html and apostrophe.ua/article/world/2020-08-13/vaktsina-rf-protiv-covid-19-ne-vyizyivaet-doveriya-v-mire--science/34413).
A new poll shows that an increasing share of Russians share this skepticism about the vaccine. The share of the population saying it would be willing to be inoculated now stands at 12 percent, down from 28 percent in March (regnum.ru/news/3035785.html). But Moscow mayor Sergey Sobyanin says that the share who will be depends only on the availability of the vaccine (regnum.ru/news/3036174.html). Russian specialists say the new vaccine will protect people for up to two years (regnum.ru/news/3035966.html).
The pandemic continued to ebb and flow across the Russian Federation with openings and closings tracking those divergent patterns (regnum.ru/news/society/3035706.html). Today, officials registered 5057 new cases of infection, bringing the total to 907,758 and 124 new deaths, raising that toll to 15,384 (regnum.ru/news/society/3035701.html
Controversy continues to swirl about the reopening of schools and the procedures planned to keep children safe, with Mayor Sobyanin doing what he can to damp down concerns (t.me/rian_ru/49863, ria.ru/20200813/1575745688.html, regnum.ru/news/3036236.html, regnum.ru/news/3036174.html and regnum.ru/news/3036151.html).
In most places, movie theaters have reopened, but they are attracting only five to ten percent of the number of customers compared to a year ago (regnum.ru/news/3035458.html). Registrations of new businesses remain down by a third compared to 2019 (regnum.ru/news/3035402.html).
Perhaps the most serious piece of economic news today was offered by RBC which said on the basis of its own sources that Russian government debt now exceeds its liquid reserves, reversing a situation that Putin has tried to maintain (vedomosti.ru/economics/news/2020/08/13/836553-gosdolg-rossii-previsil-rezervi).
Finally, as the Russian economy begins to reopen, a debate has broken out among officials, businessmen and the expert community on how many immigrant workers Russia should seek to attract, whether it should legalize those in the country illegally, and how these decisions should be enforced (newizv.ru/news/politics/13-08-2020/chuzhie-sredi-nashih-vlasti-tak-i-ne-reshili-chto-delat-s-migrantami-posle-pandemii).