Staunton, January 19 – A meeting of the Gaidar Forum says that Russians face another collapse after the pandemic ends, with those making the least likely to suffer the most in terms of employment and income, with many losing their jobs and seeing their incomes fall even if they retain them (rosbalt.ru/moscow/2021/01/19/1882829.html).
Russian officials reported that the number of new cases of coronavirus infection over the last 24 hours was 21,734, the lowest it has been since November 18. The officials also reported 586 new deaths today (novayagazeta.ru/news/2021/01/19/167190-covid) and said that more than one million Russians are now under medical supervision for the virus (regnum.ru/news/3166836.html).
The pandemic has eased slightly in the capitals but continues to ebb and flow elsewhere. Especially worrisome is that it is now hitting rural areas hardest where medical care and vaccine supplies are hardest to come by (regnum.ru/news/society/3165446.html and regnum.ru/news/3167231.html).
The health ministry has promised to deliver “up to two million doses” of the vaccine to rural areas by the end of the month (regnum.ru/news/3167188.htmlregnum.ru/news/3167230.html). Meanwhile, 200,000 Muscovites have already been vaccinated (regnum.ru/news/3167260.html).
On the economic front, more bad news continued to flow in. During the pandemic, Russian banks have rejected more than 65 percent of loan applications (business-gazeta.ru/article/496151), foreign investment in Russia fell 95 percent between 2019 and 2020 (finanz.ru/novosti/aktsii/inostrannye-investicii-v-rossiyu-rukhnuli-v-20-raz-1029982582).
And in December, the index of regional economic activity in Russia prepared by the Higher School of Economics fell back to levels not seen since the first wave of the pandemic hit then (https://krizis-kopilka.ru/archives/83131
· Health minister Mikhail Murashko said that Russian hospitals had reduced the lethality of covid infections by a factor of three since April (regnum.ru/news/3166830.html).
· Russian media are filled with stories stressing how safe the Russian vaccine is and how dangerous, even fatal, Western counterparts are (vz.ru/world/2021/1/19/1080862.html).