Staunton, January 28 – The pandemic and the associated economic crisis, the likelihood that various parties will seek to play up or play down this or that issue, and rotation at the top of many party lists mean that the outcome of the Duma elections are extremely unpredictable and may resemble a case of “Russian roulette,” expert observers say (newizv.ru/article/general/28-01-2021/prognozy-politologov-komu-budut-na-ruku-kovidnye-vybory-v-gosdumu).
As the pandemic continued to rise and fall in various parts of the country (regnum.ru/news/society/3170739.html), Moscow registration officials said there had been 19,138 new cases of infection and 575 deaths from the coronavirus over the last 24 hours (t.me/COVID2019_official/2408).
Vladimir Putin said that Russia would produce enough vaccine to inoculate 68 million people, enough to defeat the pandemic (ura.news/news/1052469129). In other comments, he said that Moscow has done what was appropriate to counter what has been a terrible burden on the country and its people (ng.ru/news/701048.html).
On the economic front, the Central Bank reported that inflation had increased far faster in poorer parts of the country than in better off ones, thus increasing income differential still further (ura.news/news/1052469083). Moscow acknowledged that 1.2 million more Russians had fallen below the minimum income standard in the third quarter of 2020 compared to a year earlier (rosstat.gov.ru/folder/313/document/112592).
As far as Russians as a whole were concerned, Rosstat reported that their real incomes decreased by 3.5 percent over the course of last year and now stand 10.6 percent below the figures reached in 2013, the last year in which the Russian economy grew (rosbalt.ru/business/2021/01/28/1884626.html).
Meanwhile, in other pandemic-related developments in Russia today,
· A year after the pandemic reached Russia, officials there have translated anti-coronavirus posters into the languages of the numerically small nations of the North (nazaccent.ru/content/35006-stopcovid-antikoronavirusnye-plakaty-pereveli-na-yazyki.html).
· Bashkortostan which had announced it would issue covid passports to those who have been vaccinated has reversed course following pressure from Moscow (echo.msk.ru/news/2781450-echo.html).
· Russia’s population declined by more than 500,000 people for the first time in 15 years. Officials suggested that a large part of the reason was the pandemic (showdata.gks.ru/report/278928/).