Staunton, January 5 – Russian journalist
Aleksandr Plyushchev says Moscow’s drive to immunize Russians against the
coronavirus is “failing” because of public skepticism about the need for the
shots and difficulties in producing and delivering enough vaccine. As a result,
the Kremlin has decided to issue coronavirus certificates and vaccination passports in order to improve things.
The former will go to those who have recovered from the disease, a group far larger than the 800,000 who have been vaccinated and thus making Russia look better, while the latter will go to those who have received the vaccine (dw.com/ru/kommentarij-v-rossii-sertifikacija-vmesto-vakcinacii/a-56132448 and versia.ru/za-poslednie-sutki-v-rossii-vyyavleno-24246-novyx-sluchaev-zarazheniya-koronavirusom-i-518-letalnyx-isxodov).
Today, Russian officials registered 24,246 new infections and 518 new deaths, boosting the respective totals to 3,284,384 and 59.506 (t.me/COVID2019_official/2308), as the pandemic continued to ebb and flow across various regions of the Russian Federation (regnum.ru/news/society/3154313.html).
The most important new restriction imposed on the eve of Eastern Christmas is a ban on those over the age of 65 from attending services at Moscow’s Christ the Savior Cathedral (echo.msk.ru/news/2769234-echo.html).
On the economic front, polls present a varied picture. While 42 percent of Russians say they expect unemployment to increase in 2021, only 11 percent say that the coming year will be worse than the one just passed through (echo.msk.ru/news/2769186-echo.html and echo.msk.ru/news/2769146-echo.html).
Meanwhile economists say that bankruptcies both personal and business are likely to explode in number in the next few months, leaving many people without housing or work (ura.news/news/1052466031 and profile.ru/society/chislo-bankrotov-v-2021-godu-vyrastet-v-geometricheskoj-progressii-471507/).
Meanwhile, in other pandemic-related developments in Russia today,
· Vladimir Putin discussed joint production of the Sputnik-5 vaccine with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in an effort to find more factories to produce the medication (kremlin.ru/events/president/news/64864).
· Russia’s homeless are among the biggest victims of the pandemic as government and private resources for them have fallen and many shun them as potential carriers of the coronavirus (sibreal.org/a/31005843.html).
· And Russians are cheering a petition drive in Ukraine urging Kyiv to drop its objections to the Russian vaccine and allow it to be used in that country (regnum.ru/news/3157341.html).