Tuesday, December 29, 2020

There are No ‘Covid Dissidents’ Left in Russian Government, Golikova Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, December 28 – Deputy Prime Minister Tatyana Golikova says that when the pandemic started, there were many “covid skeptics” in the Russian government but now they have been converted to fighting the coronavirus (regnum.ru/news/3153103.html). But there remain many such people in the Russian population.

According to a new Levada Center poll, 58 percent of Russians say they do not plan to get the vaccines even if they should be free (https://echo.msk.ru/news/2765290-echo.html). And at least some are waiting until Vladimir Putin receives the shots before deciding they are safe enough to take (newsru.com/blog/28dec2020/sputnik_60.html).

The Russian authorities registered 27,287 new cases of infection and 487 deaths over the last 24 hours (t.me/COVID2019_official/2273). But new monthly Rosstat mortality numbers again raised questions about the accuracy of these figures, forcing officials to insist Moscow was counting and reporting every case (rosstat.gov.ru/folder/313/document/110097 and


            One worrisome indication that the pandemic is getting worse is that the numbers of Russians who have been declared cured of the disease recently have been falling, raising concerns about more infectious strains and problems with the Russian healthcare system (ura.news/news/1052465217).

            After Putin indicated he favored having December 31 be a day off from work, all the regions fell in line, with North Ossetia bringing up the rear (novayagazeta.ru/news/2020/12/28/166796-31). Moscow also extended its suspension of flights to the UK until January 12 (regnum.ru/news/3153118.html).

            On the vaccine front, St. Petersburg announced it will be ready for mass vaccinations as of December 31 (regnum.ru/news/3153165.html). But Moscow Oblast announced that it would suspend its vaccination program January 1 to 7 (meduza.io/news/2020/12/28/v-podmoskovie-s-1-po-7-yanvarya-priostanovyat-vaktsinatsiyu-protiv-koronavirusa).

            Regarding the economic crisis, Boris Titov, presidential plenipotentiary for the defense of the rights of entrepreneurs, told Putin that a large number of Russian businessmen were facing enormous difficulties in coping with the economic consequences of the pandemic (regnum.ru/news/3152887.html).

            A Bank of Russia report that the pandemic had done the Russian economy a favor by “cleansing” it of firms in difficulty (regnum.ru/news/3152536.html) sparked anger and ridicule from experts who said such a position was heartless and absurd (regnum.ru/news/3152441.html). Another report suggested fewer than half of Russians who want to save are now able to do so (krizis-kopilka.ru/archives/82851).

            Meanwhile, in other pandemic-related developments in Russia today,

·         Many Russians say they will play a guessing game New Year’s Eve as to when the pandemic will end. They will also debate whether to drink with pros and cons reflecting how soon they think they will be able to get the vaccine (echo.msk.ru/news/2765120-echo.html and nakanune.ru/articles/116592/).

·         The Russian Constitutional Court ruled today that regions had the right to impose restrictions on the population as a defense against the pandemic (echo.msk.ru/news/2765298-echo.html).

·         And educational officials said that the pandemic had not caused Russians to reduce their demand for access to higher education (echo.msk.ru/news/2765148-echo.html).

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