Staunton, December 11 – Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov says that efforts by groups inside and outside Russia to discredit the Russian coronavirus vaccine are obvious to “the unaided eye” and are intended to cause Russians not to get the shots and to allow foreign competitors to steal a march on Russia in sales (regnum.ru/news/3139205.html and sovsekretno.ru/news/v-minoborony-rf-zayavili-o-popytkakh-diskreditirovat-rossiyskuyu-vaktsinu-za-rubezhom/).
Today the Russian government reported registering 613 new deaths from the coronavirus, the highest one-day total ever. It also said that it had recorded 28,585 new infections. The cumulative totals for deaths reached 45,893 and for infections 2,597,711 (t.me/COVID2019_official/2156
regnum.ru/news/society/3137671.html). But most attention was focused on just two places, St. Petersburg where the governor is locked in a battle with businessand in Moscow Oblast with new controls for New Year’s.
The city dug in on plans to restrict the operation of restaurants and bars over the holiday but did say it might relent if infection figures improved (regnum.ru/news/3139299.html). Business resistance eased despite getting support from some Moscow politicians (regnum.ru/news/3139025.html, regnum.ru/news/3139622.html and regnum.ru/news/3139450.html).
And the governor of Moscow Oblast where many Muscovites thought they might be going for the holiday said no one would be admitted to restaurants or bars there without a certificate that he or she was coronavirus free (mosreg.ru/dokumenty/normotvorchestvo/prinyato-gubernatorom/postanovleniya/11-12-2020-19-59-23-postanovlenie-gubernatora-moskovskoy-oblasti-ot).
Elsewhere, among the worst hot spots were prison camps in the Volga region (znak.com/2020-12-11/v_sverdlovskih_koloniyah_vveli_polnyy_karantin_po_koronavirusu), and the northwestern region of the Russian Federation (thebarentsobserver.com/en/covid-19/2020/12/covid-haunts-northern-russia).
Vaccinations continued in Moscow and began in some regions. Moscow Mayor Sergey Sobyanin announced the opening of a new factory in his city to produce more vaccine (mskagency.ru/materials/3069303), and Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin announced the vaccinations would continue throughout the New Year’s holidays (regnum.ru/news/3139410.html).
The defense ministry announced that 10,000 uniformed personnel have already been vaccinated and that the armed forces have set up 300 vaccination points to handle more once more vaccine becomes available (function.mil.ru/news_page/country/more.htm?id=12329644@egNews).
On the economic front, polls recorded just how dire the situation now is. One in every three Russian now describes his or her status as poor (echo.msk.ru/news/2756470-echo.html), and six percent said that they have difficulty finding enough money to buy food (znak.com/2020-12-12/vciom_28_rossiyan_ne_mogut_pozvolit_sebe_kupit_odezhdu_6_dazhe_edu).
And unemployment which has been rising across the country has hit the North Caucasus especially hard. There over the last year, the number of those without work has gone up 500 percent (capost.media/news/ekonomika/iz-za-pandemii-ofitsialnaya-bezrabotitsa-v-skfo-vyrosla-v-5-raz/).
Meanwhile, in other pandemic-related developments in Russia today,
· Vladimir Putin directed the All-Russian Popular Front to prepare biweekly reports on the state of the struggle against the pandemic (regnum.ru/news/3139490.html).
· Nearly nine out of ten Russians believe wearing masks is the right thing to do, but experts say that if masks are worn outside during extreme cold, the value of this form of defense is seriously reduced (regnum.ru/news/3138804.html and echo.msk.ru/news/2756544-echo.html).
· Russians are buying far fewer artificial New Year’s trees this year than last (profile.ru/economy/potreblyaj-i-zdravstvuj-kak-pandemiya-izmenila-privychki-rossiyan-448767/