Staunton, February 12 – Duma deputy Gennady Onishchenko, a former senior health official, says that the coronavirus is without doubt a natural phenomenon but that anti-vaxxer sentiment in Russia is not. Instead, he says, it is part of a hybrid war directed against Russia by its enemies (business-gazeta.ru/article/498994
Today, the pandemic continued to ebb and flow across Russia, with officials reporting registering 15,089 new cases of infection and 507 new deaths (regnum.ru/news/society/3188415.html t.me/COVID2019_official/2473). Yesterday, Udmurtia and Chechnya announced they were ending mask requirements in public. That sparked withering criticism from the center, and Udmurtia, but not yet Chechnya, has backed down (echo.msk.ru/news/2789542-echo.html).
Other regions are thinking about lifting this and other restrictions but are no likely to go more slowly at least on this one, including Moscow, which still has many limitations in place (kp.ru/daily/27239.5/4366396/ and msk.kp.ru/daily/27239.5/4366755/).
On the vaccine front, Vladimir Putin confirmed that he has still not gotten the shots, prompting some observers to suggest he is afraid of them (echo.msk.ru/news/2789194-echo.html and forum-msk.org/material/news/16993631.html). He did say yesterday he would be immunized in August or September.
One group of Russians now being vaccinated are members of military units slated to take part in the Victory Day parade on May 9 (regnum.ru/news/3189013.html). Russian soldiers at bases in Armenia, Abkhazia and South Ossetia are also being supplied with the Sputnik-5 vaccine (regnum.ru/news/3189073.html).
Now that the Sputnik-5 vaccine has been approved for use in 26 countries, Moscow officials are arguing that it is now in the top three most popular covid vaccines (sputnikvaccine.com/rus/newsroom/pressreleases/vaktsina-sputnik-v-zaregistrirovana-v-26-stranakh-mira/ and regnum.ru/news/3189503.html).
And the Russian government has announced that yet another country, Serbia, has agreed to manufacture the Sputnik-5 medication (themoscowtimes.com/2021/02/12/coronavirus-in-russia-the-latest-news-feb-12-a69117). Russian laboratories which have provided testing for the infection have earned more than 40 billion rubles (550 million US dollars) since the start of the pandemic (regnum.ru/news/3189054.html).
Russian analysts say that the demographic consequences of the pandemic are likely to cast a long shadow on the country’s economic development for years (rbc.ru/economics/12/02/2021/6023efbc9a794767c2d92254znak.com/2021-02-12/pandemiya_lishaet_nas_ofisnyh_mest_mozhno_li_sdelat_kareru_na_udalenke).
Meanwhile, in other pandemic-related developments in Russia today,
· A new poll shows that more than half of Russians (56 percent) who have been infected with the coronavirus think it is a serious disease but only two percent more than do those who have not themselves been infected (regnum.ru/news/3189482.html).
· The Muslim Spiritual Directorate (MSD) of the Russian Federation held a roundtable to promote the finding that the Russian vaccine corresponds to Islamic dietary requirements and that Muslims should get it as soon as they can (islamsng.com/rus/news/16506).
· Pandemic lockdowns last year contributed to a rise in divorces in two Muslim republics, Chechnya and Daghestan, where such marital outcomes historically have been rare (nazaccent.ru/content/35111-rosstat-v-chechne-i-dagestane-stali.html).