Friday, February 26, 2021

Moscow Borrowed Far More in 2020 than It Spent Fighting Pandemic

Paul Goble

            Staunton, February 25 – Many governments around the world have seen their government debt rise dramatically because of the enormous amounts they have spent combatting the pandemic and providing support for the population affected directly and indirectly from it. But the Russian government is different: it borrowed far more last year than it spent on either.

            In fact, new analyses show, the Russian government borrowed two times more than the amount it spent on the pandemic and associated economic crisis, an indication that it spent more on other things, including on security and defense ( and

            Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin said that the situation with regard to the pandemic is “improving but still far from ideal (, a statement today’s registered numbers of infections (11,198) and deaths (446) support even though some hotspots remain ( and

            In the city of Moscow, one of the places where improvements have been most obvious, Mayor Sergey Sobyanin said that many of the restrictions earlier put in place to fight the pandemic may be lifted in the next two or three months (

            On the vaccine front, the health ministry cut limits on the retail price of Sputnik-5 by 50 percent to 866 rubles (12 US dollars) (, clearly in the hopes of boosting demand for inoculations. In some places, such as Daghestan, they are lagging far behind all-Russian levels (

            On the economic front, real estate analysts said public construction projects had been cut back far more than private ones over the last year ( The self-employed and those in small firms have seen their incomes fall by 10 to 20 percent, far more than those working in larger and government-owned companies (

            The number of startup companies in Russia has actually risen, but the amount of money flowing into them ahs fallen by almost 20 percent ( And economists say that real inflation is running about four times what the Russian government is now saying (

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

·         About six percent of Russians returning from abroad in Perm Kray are ignoring requirements that they be tested for the coronavirus, a figure likely typical of many places (

·         Having a place in the country where one can retreat and avoid the pandemic has become a status symbol in St. Petersburg (

·         Moscow media are increasingly covering foreign sales of vaccines by various countries as a geopolitical competition and today pointed out that Russia vaccines are now going to countries with a total population of 1.1 billion people ( and

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