Staunton, January 14 – If the Russian authorities are able to overcome the pandemic, that alone will change the mood in the country and provide a boost for Kremlin-backed candidates in the upcoming Duma elections, Moscow analyst Mikhail Delyagin says. If the pandemic continues, they will have little chance (regnum.ru/news/3163154.html).
That linkage may in fact determine when the elections are scheduled, earlier if the pandemic eases sooner and later if it goes on. Some officials believe the situation may return to normal by late spring, while others, following WHO assessments, are far more pessimistic and see it lasting in Russia toward the end of the year (regnum.ru/news/3163500.html and kp.ru/daily/27226/4352208).
The pandemic continued to ebb and flow across Russia with officials in Moscow reporting registering 24,763 new cases of infection and 570 coronavirus deaths for the country as a whole over the last 24 hours (regnum.ru/news/society/3160299.html and t.me/COVID2019_official/2341).
Officials did say that in “the overwhelming majority” of regions, schools will reopen next week in a normal face-to-face manner, although most post-secondary and other special educational institutions will remain on distance learning (regnum.ru/news/3162798.html and regnum.ru/news/3162673.html).
On the vaccine front, Russian officials say, they have distributed more than 1.6 million doses of the vaccine and that “about 140,000” Muscovites have received the vaccine (regnum.ru/news/3163144.html and regnum.ru/news/3163497.html). Private clinics in the capital have been given doses for which they can charge (regnum.ru/news/3162966.html).
Some regions are reporting difficulties handling the Sputnik-5 vaccine which requires being kept at below minus 18 degrees centigrade (meduza.io/feature/2021/01/14/vaktsina-sputnik-v-dolzhna-vse-vremya-nahoditsya-pri-temperature-minus-18-i-nizhe-v-rezultate-ee-okazalos-ne-v-chem-hranit-i-perevozit
Russian medical labs suggest that by the end of 2022, they may be able to produce a single vaccine that will prevent people from getting both the ordinary flu and the coronavirus (regnum.ru/news/3163064.html).
On the economic front, Prime Minisster Mikhail Mishustin says that Russia will recover from the pandemic-driven slump more rapidly than other countries (regnum.ru/news/3162997.html). Officials have added medications and masks for the coronavirus to the basic market basket they use to assess the standard of living (novayagazeta.ru/news/2021/01/14/167073-rosstat-vklyuchil-v-korzinu-rascheta-inflyatsii-maski-antiseptiki-lekarstva-ot-covid-19-i-mrt).
Meanwhile, in other pandemic-related developments in Russia today,
· The Twitter account of Russia’s Sputnik-5 vaccine was briefly suspended (regnum.ru/news/3163587.html).
· Given Russia’s enormous size, the development of telemedicine because of the pandemic will help Russians suffering from a variety of illnesses in the future (sberhealth.style.rbc.ru/?utm_source=rbc&utm_medium=main&utm_campaign=sbrzdr20f-r-pan-m).
· Futurologist Sergey Pereslegin says that Russians and other face a world of what he calls “medical fascism” and the rise of a new iron curtain (business-gazeta.ru/article/495344).