Staunton, March 11 – Excess eaths from the coronavirus and from those who did not get medical care because hospitals were focused on the pandemic pushed life expectancy among Russians down from 73.3 years to 71 years in 2020, the largest decline in any developed country last year and the first fall in Russia in 17 years (echo.msk.ru/news/2803714-echo.html, echo.msk.ru/news/2804040-echo.html and echo.msk.ru/news/2804020-echo.html).
As the pandemic continued to ebb and flow across Russia, Moscow officials reported 9270 new cases of infection and 459 new deaths, both continuing the secular declines of the last several weeks; but despite that, many places have had to extend restrictions or refuse to lift them (t.me/COVID2019_official/2582 and regnum.ru/news/society/3210111.html).
Resistance to the restrictions appears to be on the rise, however, with some who object to mask and other requirements now going to court, albeit without any success (regnum.ru/news/3211996.html). And surveys suggest that large percentages of Russians don’t plan to be vaccinated (promrating.ru/issledovaniya/issledovanie-otnosheniya-zhitelej-tatarstana-k-vakczinaczii-ot-koronavirusnoj-infekczii/).
Official statistics show that the share of soldiers and sailors who have been vaccinated is six times that of residents of the northern capital which has been a coronavirus hotspot; and officials there say parts of the city have run out of the vaccine (regnum.ru/news/3212714.html, https://regnum.ru/news/3212699.html and regnum.ru/news/3212498.html).
Moscow considers to celebrate what it says is the Russian vaccines “conquest of the world” now that 50 countries have approved the use of Sputnik-5, but some suggest that this is the result of Russian propaganda attacks on Western vaccines (stoletie.ru/rossiya_i_mir/nash_sputnik_zavojevyvajet_mir_844.htm, sputnikvaccine.com/rus/newsroom/pressreleases/vaktsina-sputnik-v-poluchila-odobrenie-v-50-y-strane/ and ekhokavkaza.com/a/31143136.html).
Vladimir Putin acknowledged that 2020 was a difficult one for the economy but said 2021 will be better (stoletie.ru/lenta/putin_nazval_2020_god_khudshim_dla_ekonomiki_586.htm). But some economists suggest it will take several years for the Russian economy to recover from decline last year (ng.ru/economics/2021-03-11/1_8100_economics2.html).
And despite falling incomes and consumer prices rising eight times as fast as in Europe, Russians cannot expect their government to provide an assistance package like the one just approved in the US. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Pskov said that such aid packages are “ineffective” and won’t be adopted in Russia (krizis-kopilka.ru/archives/84214 and krizis-kopilka.ru/archives/84202).