Staunton, November 27 – Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu says that his ministry will vaccinate 400,000 military personnel in the coming months, with 80,000 getting the shots by the end of December (interfax.ru/russia/738943 and themoscowtimes.com/2020/11/27/russian-military-launches-coronavirus-vaccination-campaign-a72168).
Today, Russia registered a record 27,543 new cases of infection, but new deaths declined slightly to 496 (t.me/COVID2019_official/2064). Moscow city deaths trebled over the last month (themoscowtimes.com/2020/11/27/moscow-reports-300-spike-in-coronavirus-deaths-a72161), and Petersburg officials said people there are dying more often than in other regions (novayagazeta.ru/articles/2020/11/27/88144-na-dvoih-odno-dyhanie).
The epidemic continued to surge in most places (regnum.ru/news/society/3122025.html), with officials imposing new restrictions (regnum.ru/news/3126895.html). Moscow Mayor Sergey Sobyanin did say that 50 percent of residents of the capital were now immune, an indication of just how many have had the disease (echo.msk.ru/news/2748602-echo.html).
School closings and distance learning remain controversial but officials say that they want to extend existing restrictions on Russian school through next year until 2022 (sovsekretno.ru/news/rospotrebnadzor-khochet-prodlit-ogranicheniya-v-shkolakh-do-2022-goda/).
On the vaccine front, Vektor Labs warned that even those who have been vaccinated can contract the coronavirus infection (rusmonitor.com/slava-rabinovich-horoshaya-vakczina-u-nih.html); it added that its vaccine would be free to Russians (echo.msk.ru/news/2748814-echo.html).
Meanwhile India has agreed to produce 100 million doses of the Russian vaccine (sputnikvaccine.com/newsroom/pressreleases/rdif-and-hetero-agree-to-produce-over-100-million-doses-of-the-sputnik-v-vaccine-in-india/), and Moscow says that people in CIS countries will be the first foreigners to get the Russian vaccine after Russians themselves (regnum.ru/news/3126860.html).
But Health Minister Mikhail Murashko undercut the government’s earlier messages by saying that any demand that people everywhere in Russia where a mask is “senseless,” thereby calling attention to resistance to such programs among Russians (regnum.ru/news/3127157.html).
On the economic front, the interior ministry extended the time foreigners and those without citizenship can remain in Russia until the summer of next year. Many had been in a legal limbo because as a result of the pandemic, they had not been able to travel anywhere (nazaccent.ru/content/34589-srok-prebyvaniya-migrantov-v-rossii-prodlyat.html).
And Russian banks reported that ordinary Russians have been withdrawing hard currency at record rates (finanz.ru/novosti/lichnyye-finansy/banki-rekordno-teryayut-valyutu-rossiyane-vynesli-so-vkladov-$15-mlrd-1029845538).
Meanwhile in other pandemic-related developments in Russia today,
· The Kremlin has been pressed to explain how and why Putin can appear in public without masks or observing social distance (meduza.io/feature/2020/11/27/eto-ne-prosto-takoe-massovoe-beskontrolnoe-obschenie-kreml-ob-yasnil-pochemu-putin-v-razgar-pandemii-hodit-bez-maski-i-zdorovaetsya-za-ruku and lenta.ru/news/2020/11/27/bez_maski/).
· The Russian government has established a single telephone number – 122 – to handle questions about the coronavirus and the vaccine (snob.ru/news/v-rossii-vvodyat-edinyj-telefonnyj-nomer-122-dlya-voprosov-o-covid-19-i-vyzova-vracha/).
· New polls show that Russian confidence in the future has plunged to a ten-year low despite vaccine breakthroughs (mk.ru/science/2020/11/27/opublikovany-obnadezhivayushhie-dannye-immuniteta-k-koronavirusu.html and krizis-kopilka.ru/archives/82039).
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