Staunton, December 26 – Despite an easing in some places and the insistence of experts that Russia has now plateaued, Moscow for the third day in a row registered more than 29,000 new infections (29,258, as well as 567 deaths), pushing the cumulative total over three million (ura.news/news/1052465074, https://echo.msk.ru/news/2764322-echo.html, regnum.ru/news/3151866.html and regnum.ru/news/3151841.html).
The situation in St. Petersburg which has been a pandemic hotspot in recent weeks eased slightly with hospitalizations falling, but elsewhere, and especially in Tuva and the Jewish Autonomous Oblast, there were new spikes (regnum.ru/news/society/3148450.html, regnum.ru/news/3151980.html and regnum.ru/news/3151877.html).
Police raids on bars and restaurants continued in the capitals, with one bar in Moscow being found to have set up a secret room so that it could continue to serve customers (kasparov.ru/material.php?id=5FE72DCB2A293 and mskagency.ru/materials/3074609
On the vaccine front, the health ministry authorized the use of Sputnik-5 on people over 60, an action that some medical experts have questioned because of the absence of normal testing procedures for this age group (regnum.ru/news/3151957.html and ura.news/news/1052465079).
Meanwhile, the Moscow Patriarchate urged all Russians to get vaccinated, and the government banned the import of masks produced abroad until 2022. But experts warned that even the vaccine campaign is not going to end the pandemic (regnum.ru/news/3151976.html, regnum.ru/news/3151971.html and severreal.org/a/31019134.html).
On the economic front, the Accounting Chamber reported that 20 percent of low income Russians have not received promised assistance from the government, and other analysts said Russians should expect a 10.9 percent decline in their incomes next year (mbk-news.appspot.com/suzhet/20-maloimushhih-rossiyan/ and agoniya.eu/archives/10630).
In other pandemic-related developments in Russia today,
· Moscow’s Tretyakov Museum reported that it had only 50 percent as many visitors this year as last because it was closed for seven months (regnum.ru/news/3151809.html).
· A survey of Russian attitudes since the pandemic began a year ago finds that people now are less afraid of the virus than they were and that they are more attentive than before to what regional governments are doing (regnum.ru/news/society/3151629.html).
The Kremlin press secretary, perhaps frustrated by daily questions as to whether Vladimir Putin has gotten his vaccination yet, said today that the Kremlin leader and no one else will announce then that occurs (ura.news/news/1052465081).