Staunton, November 26 – Because of the pandemic-exacerbated economic crisis, Russians are increasingly being forced to buy bread rather than meat, fruits and vegetables, but tragically, economist Nikita Krichevsky says, the powers that be in Moscow don’t understand what is happening (regnum.ru/news/3125661.html).
Officials are telling themselves that Russians will put up with this forever, making do with bread rather than meat; but that is the kind of self-deception by those who are in charge will at some point collapse with potentially disastrous consequences for the country, the economist adds.
Today, Russia set records in the number of new infections – 25,487 – and new deaths – 524 (t.me/COVID2019_official/2058). Most of the increase reflects the spread of the pandemic, but part of it is the product of decisions by regional officials to report more accurately after Putin called for them to do so (idelreal.org/a/30970151.html and regnum.ru/news/3126330.html).
The pandemic continues to spread across the country with most places getting worse rather than better and forcing the government to pull 10 billion rubles (150 million US dollars) from reserve funds (regnum.ru/news/society/3122025.html and znak.com/2020-11-25/mishustin_poruchil_vydelit_iz_rezervnogo_fonda_10_milliardov_na_vyplaty_medikam).
Polls show broad support for giving priority to the construction of new hospitals and clinics, after many of them were closed in recent years by Putin’s “optimization” program (nakanune.ru/articles/116540/). In many regions, hospitals no longer have enough beds for those infected (regnum.ru/news/3125900.html).
Moscow Mayor Sergey Sobyanin has extended some restrictions until mid-January but at the same time has pledged that he does not plan to shut down the capital again (regnum.ru/news/3126168.html and rusk.ru/newsdata.php?idar=88541).
The Kremlin said it was not yet prepared to give an exact date for the start of mass vaccinations against the coronavirus, but officials did announce that the vaccine developed by the Vektor Laboratories was beginning clinical trials (regnum.ru/news/3125966.html
On the economic front, Russians are buying far fewer New Year’s trees than last year, and in some regions, officials are saying that business there will not recover before 2022 at the earliest (regnum.ru/news/3125475.html and regnum.ru/news/3125716.html).
Meanwhile, in other pandemic-related developments in Russia today,
· Some analysts are worried about the possible start of an updated “parade of sovereignties” now that Kazan officials have said they may restrict the sale of medicines to local people (regnum.ru/news/3125766.html).
Aleksandr Myasnikov, perhaps Russia’s leading TV doctor, says that he expects the coronavirus to return each year just like flu (regnum.ru/news/3125362.html