Sunday, January 24, 2021

Pandemic Increased Authoritarianism in Russia with Powers Using Technology More Effectively against Population

Paul Goble

            Staunton, January 21 – The pandemic has increased authoritarianism in Russia not only by providing a justification for tighter control but by causing those in power to make greater use of technologies that help them in this effort, according to Moscow economist Sergey Zuyev (

            One of the collateral and dangerous consequences of this, he argues, is that Russians no longer view technology as something that will help them increase their own autonomy but rather as a threat to their freedom, a change in attitude over the last year that will also slow the development of Russia in the future and make archaic approaches more common.

            As the pandemic continued to ebb and flow across the country (, the Russian authorities reported registering 21,887 new cases, down from recent weeks, but 612 new deaths from the coronavirus over the last 24 hours, at the middle of what appears to be the new plateau (

            Moscow decided to ease numerous restrictions on visitors to museums and sports activities, while St. Petersburg did not, saying that the situation in the northern capital doesn’t allow that. Elsewhere, the situation was equally variegated making claims about a general improvement or deterioration meaningless (,,  and

            The Russian military has in fact launched a broad program of immunizing its personnel, with the vaccine now being administered even in Russian bases outside of the Russian Federation ( and

            Making distribution easier is the fact that the health ministry now says that the Sputnik-5 vaccine needs to be stored between plus two and plus eight degrees centigrade far warmer than before and far warmer than other vaccines ( Also today, Hungary became the first European country to approve use of the Russian vaccine (

            Meanwhile, in other pandemic-related developments in Russia today,

·         Russian officials warned the population against buying vaccines online, noting that such offers are typically fraudulent and dangerous (

·         Bashkortostan became the first federal subject to introduce a covid passport, even as many commentators warned such actions would divide Russians and mean that many could not travel within the country or abroad (  and

·         Russia’s airlines warned that unless they get new assistance from the government, they face bankruptcy (

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