Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Global Warming, Putin Optimization Combine to Produce Pandemic Disaster in Russian North

Paul Goble

            Staunton, January 10 – Global warming has made it far more difficult for people in the Russian North to gain access to medical care, rendering roads impassable and closing many airfields. Combined with Vladimir Putin’s cutbacks in the number of medical points in the North, this has made the pandemic there far worse and more deadly than would otherwise be the case.

            Although the population of Russia’s Far North is small, the impact of the pandemic on it has been horrific; and the losses have given Moscow a black eye among the Arctic powers as it prepares to assume the chairmanship of the Arctic Council and limited its ability to get more Russians to move to the region (ng.ru/economics/2021-01-10/1_8052_arctic.html).

            For Russia as a whole, Moscow officials reported registering 22,851 new cases and 456 deaths over the last 24 hours, as the pandemic continued to ebb and flow in various places (t.me/COVID2019_official/2323  and regnum.ru/news/society/3154313.html). Officials conceded that it is “too early” to speak about any stabilization (regnum.ru/news/3159035.html).

            Educational administrators in the two capitals did say that at the conclusion of the winter holidays, schools there would reopen with normal face-to-face classes (regnum.ru/news/3159019.html and regnum.ru/news/3158956.html). Elsewhere, some schools will remain closed while others will reopen.

            On the vaccine front, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that Vladimir Putin still has not been vaccinated (regnum.ru/news/3158957.html). In St. Petersburg, where there has been a spike in cases, only 0.2 percent of the population has received the Sputnik-5 shots so far (regnum.ru/news/3158951.html and echo.msk.ru/news/2771686-echo.html).

            Meanwhile, Moscow commentator Georgy Bovt says he is certain that a coronavirus passport, about which there has been so much controversy in recent days, will be introduced in Russia no later than during the second half of this year to identify all those who have been immunized by the Sputnik-5 vaccine (kp.ru/daily/27224.3/4350030/).

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