Staunton, January 12 – The government’s response to the pandemic has increased the divide between Moscow and the rest of the country, Kirill Martyinov of Novaya gazeta says. In the capital, those who want vaccines can get them easily and for free while in most regions, few can do so at any price (echo.msk.ru/blog/kirillmartyn/2772678-echo/).
Nonetheless, Russian political analyst Mikhail Meyzhmakov says, the pandemic so far as remained on the periphery of political concerns, limiting the extent to which it has created problems for the Kremlin. He adds, however, that the increasing prominence of governors may change that especially during the Duma campaigns (realtribune.ru/news/authority/5727).
Today, Russian officials reported registering 22,934 new cases of infection and 531 deaths from the coronavirus over the last 24 hours, as the pandemic continued its course across the country (t.me/COVID2019_official/2332 and regnum.ru/news/society/3160299.html). Officials said things had stabilized in 61 federal subjects and improved in 22 others (regnum.ru/news/3160848.html).
One sign that the pandemic may be easing in Russia is that the percentage of unoccupied beds in coronavirus suites in hospitals has risen to 23 percent. Earlier some regions reported that they were full up and searching for more space (regnum.ru/news/3160901.html).
Restrictions nonetheless continue on travel to Britain and on face-to-face classes in universities (regnum.ru/news/3160711.html and regnum.ru/news/3160513.html). Distance learning also remains widespread and is generating anger among parents across the country with some calling on Putin to take steps to calm the situation by promising an end (ura.news/articles/1036281771
On the economic front, Russian businesses got some bad news. A senior official at the economic development ministry said that Moscow would increase inspections of businesses in the coming year as the pandemic eases. Many businesses had avoided such inspections over the last 12 months (krizis-kopilka.ru/archives/83027).
Meanwhile, in other pandemic-related developments in Russia today,
· Criminals are offering gullible Russians fake vaccines against the coronavirus (regnum.ru/news/3160755.html).
· More than 3.5 million Russians have used the government’s coronavirus hotline since it was established last year (regnum.ru/news/3160349.html).