Staunton, February 18 – Russians aren’t protesting about excess deaths from the pandemic, Moscow sociologists say, largely because state-controlled media don’t report much on this, Russians are focused on economic difficulties than on the disease, and they are more willing to accept mass deaths than are many other nations (themoscowtimes.com/2021/02/18/russia-has-one-of-the-worlds-highest-excess-death-rates-why-arent-russians-angrier-a72981).
Russian officials reported registering 13,447 new cases of infection and 480 new deaths over the last 24 hours as the country generally plateaued or trended down by both measures despite spikes in a few regions (t.me/COVID2019_official/2493, regnum.ru/news/society/3188415.html and regnum.ru/news/3194548.html).
On the vaccine front, Moscow announced that when to begin testing on children was still being discussed but that tests of Sputnik-Lite have begun on adults (regnum.ru/news/3194620.html and regnum.ru/news/3194525.html).
Moscow Mayor Sergey Sobyanin announced that 600,000 residents of his city had been vaccinated against the coronavirus so far. In the northern capital, officials reduced plans to vaccinate 3.5 million Petersburgers and said they now plan to give shots to 1.2 million (https://regnum.ru/news/3194482.html and https://regnum.ru/news/3194472.html).
On the economic front, labor ministry officials said that the number of officially registered unemployed has fallen by a third over the last six months (echo.msk.ru/news/2792662-echo.html). But inflation is rising and incomes are falling and Putin has now given the green light to introduce ration cards for the poorest Russians (finanz.ru/novosti/lichnyye-finansy/rost-cen-neizbezhen-na-rossiyu-nadvigaetsya-eshche-odna-inflyacionnaya-volna-1030097742 and krizis-kopilka.ru/archives/83772).
Meanwhile, in other pandemic-related developments in Russia today,
· Moscow said that higher educational institutions will be allowed to independently set the form of graduation examinations, another way in which the pandemic has decentralized some decisions (regnum.ru/news/3194134.html).
· Russian media picked up a Washington Post report that some American diplomats at the US embassy in the Russian capital have sought to get the Russian vaccine because no American one is yet available to them (lenta.ru/news/2021/02/18/satellite_five/).
· The Moscow Patriarchate is now reporting on new deaths among the clergy but unlike in the past it is giving only numbers and not identifying the victims by name or by bishopric (t.me/Patriarchrabochayagruppa/332 and ahilla.ru/dva-klirika-rpts-skonchalis-ot-kovida-za-proshedshuyu-nedelyu/).
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