Staunton, February 23 – The Kremlin celebrates each new sale of its vaccine abroad, treating it as a political victory whenever a country decides to adopt the Sputnik-5 vaccine, especially in the former Soviet space where Moscow is doing well in Central Asia against China but less well elsewhere where Western products are winning out (ng.ru/society/2021-02-23/100_2102231705.html and caa-network.org/archives/21472/rossiya-i-kitaj-v-czentralnoj-azii-geopolitika-i-vakczinnaya-diplomatiya-dajdzhest).
But this propaganda message isn’t sitting well with all Russians, especially within the Russian Federation but beyond the ring road who are angry that so much of the Russian vaccine is going abroad at a time when they want but can’t get shots in their home areas (versia.ru/vakcina-ot-koronavirusa-uxodit-za-rubezh-a-ne-v-rossijskie-regiony).
Almost all regions are in fact doing better with regard to the coronavirus, and the overall numbers Moscow registered today are down, with only 11,823 new cases of infection (the lowest since last October) and 417 new deaths (regnum.ru/news/society/3195444.htm and t.me/COVID2019_official/2510).
On the economic front, however, there was some bad news. According to officials, 20 to 25 percent of all firms in the segments of the economy which have suffered the most from the pandemic won’t reopen in 2021 (svpressa.ru/economy/article/290191/).
And in another development, the pandemic has had an interesting impact on Muslims in the North Caucasus. Because of a shortage of government medical facilities, ever more of the faithful have been turning to Islamic doctors and their traditional practices, many of which especially in Daghestan are experiencing a boom in demand (kavkaz-uzel.eu/articles/360073/).