Staunton, January 22 – Russians are far more skeptical about the value of the coronavirus vaccine than are members of other nations, with about 50 percent telling the Gallup organization they don’t plan to get the vaccine, compared to an international average of about 30 percent (kommersant.ru/doc/4654904).
Russian skepticism reflects both the Kremlin’s long history of not telling its people the truth and Vladimir Putin’s overly rapid push to use the Sputnik-5 vaccine before all the testing was concluded, something experts Russian and otherwisehave questioned (themoscowtimes.com/2021/01/22/russias-questionable-claims-overshadow-good-sputnik-v-vaccine-a72696 and zn.ua/WORLD/virusolohi-schitajut-chto-covid-19-mutiruet-iz-za-rossijskoj-vaktsiny-reuters.html).
It also hasn’t helped that Putin himself for all his promotion of the vaccine has not taken it himself, an approach that has encouraged both ordinary Russians and prominent personalities to decide there must be some reason he hasn’t and that if the Kremlin leader won’t get the shots, neither will they.
Today, Russian officials reported registering 21,513 new cases of infection and 580 new deaths from the coronavirus over the last 24 hours (t.me/COVID2019_official/2382), as the pandemic continues to ebb and flow, with some places like Moscow and even St. Petersburg doing better regarding infections and vaccines and others much worse (regnum.ru/news/society/3165446.html and https://regnum.ru/news/society/3170739.html).
Moscow is relaxing many restrictions, and St. Petersburg is as well; but outside of the capitals, the pattern is just the reverse in most of the country (regnum.ru/news/3170148.html, regnum.ru/news/3170171.html, regnum.ru/news/3170194.html and regnum.ru/news/3170737.html).
Another region, Moscow Oblast, has announced that it is planning to introduce certificates for those who get vaccinated, thus introducing via a backdoor “a covid passport” many fear will divides the country into two classes, those who have been vaccinated and those who haven’t (versia.ru/v-rossii-za-sutki-vyyavili-21-513-sluchaev-zarazheniya-koronavirusom-i-580-letalnyx-isxodov).
On the economic front, many businessmen who have been forced to shutter their operations say that the Russian authorities have not made it easy for them to restart them (rosbalt.ru/moscow/2021/01/22/1883557.html), and banks report that they have issued 26 percent fewer credit cards in 2020 compared to a year earlier (krizis-kopilka.ru/archives/83209).
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