Staunton, March 9 – The pandemic is likely to have one impact similar to the collapse of the Soviet Union, video specialist Yaroslav Gorodetsky says. It will leave those over 45 feeling lost in a new world, this time digital rather than capitalist and feeling that they cannot ever hope to fit in (echo.msk.ru/blog/ya_gorodetsky/2802432-echo/).
Because there is no possibility that digitalization will be reversed, just as there was no possibility that capitalism would be, he advises older people to be open to change and to learn from the young but acknowledges that this will be just as difficult in this case as it was 30 years ago and, as a result, will have enormous psychological and ultimately political consequences.
The pandemic does appear to be easing in most places, and the Russian government today reported fewer new infections and deaths, 9445 and 336 than at any time in recent months (https://t.me/COVID2019_official/2567, regnum.ru/news/society/3210111.html and regnum.ru/news/society/3202625.html
On the vaccine front, the Kremlin continued to say that getting the vaccine was entirely voluntary, but more lawyers and companies are talking about the need to compel people to be inoculated in order to end the pandemic (regnum.ru/news/3209829.html and echo.msk.ru/blog/kaloy/2802292-echo/).
The makers of Russia’s Sputnik-5 vaccine are demanding an apology from the European Medicines Agency, even as they announce that they have reached an accord with an Italian firm to begin producing it there (sovsekretno.ru/news/avtory-sputnika-v-potrebovali-izvineniy-u-evropeyskogo-regulyatora/ and echo.msk.ru/news/2802632-echo.html).
Moscow city plans to keep its covid hospitals open at least until the end of the year and to require masks to be worn even when other restrictions are lifted this summer (kp.ru/online/news/4214666/ and ng.ru/moscow/2021-03-09/2_8097_nsk09032021.html ). And the Kremlin reiterated its skepticism about covid passports (regnum.ru/news/3209860.html).
On the economic front, Rosstat reported that the share of companies operating at a loss rose only 2.9 percent between 2019 and 2020 but that their total losses had risen by 230 percent to 5.3 trillion rubles (70 billion US dollars) (krizis-kopilka.ru/archives/84145).
Meanwhile in other pandemic-related developments in Russia today,
· The Constitutional Court agreed to hear a case on the constitutionality of bans on protests during the pandemic (znak.com/2021-03-08/v_konstitucionnyy_sud_postupil_isk_osparivayuchiy_zapret_akcii_protesta_vo_vremya_covid_19).
Baltic commentators opposed to the possible use of Russia’s Sputnik-5 vaccine call that medication a form of “soft occupation” (rubaltic.ru/article/politika-i-obshchestvo/20210309-pribaltika-priravnyala-rossiyskuyu-vaktsinu-k-myagkoy-okkupatsii/