Staunton, March 30 – Sometimes it is the small things that define an age. Perhaps one of those has just occurred in Putin’s Russia: dogs scheduled to appear in the May Victory Day parade in St. Petersburg are beginning vaccinated for the coronavirus even though many Russians still can’t get the shots because of shortages (echo.msk.ru/news/2813412-echo.html).
In some federal subjects, the share of the human population vaccinated remains extremely low. Daghestan has the lowest percentage of all, just 0.83 percent or 25,665 people (regnum.ru/news/3228816.html). Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov rarely talks about logistical shortcomings but he does say that many in his country aren’t getting vaccinated because of what he calls “our national characteristics” – suspiciousness (forum-msk.org/material/news/17086238.html).
Russian officials reported that they have registered 8277 new cases of infection and 409 new deaths from the coronavirus over the last 24 hours, both figures up slightly from recent days (t.me/COVID2019_official/2685). They also said that 119.9 million tests for the disease have been carried out in Russia so far (regnum.ru/news/3228950.html).
Despite improvements in the epidemiological situation in most places, some continue to feature increases in infections, hospitalizations and deaths, forcing officials to extend or tighten enforcement of restrictions designed to contain the pandemic (regnum.ru/news/society/3226201.html and regnum.ru/news/3229076.html).
On the vaccine front, Peskov said the Kremlin is pleased that more prominent officials are getting vaccinated as Vladimir Putin just has and that it hopes that more ordinary Russians will now follow suit (regnum.ru/news/3229249.html, regnum.ru/news/3229033.html and regnum.ru/news/3228645.html).
Having had the infection and recovered, however, Peskov says that he personally has no plans to get the shots (regnum.ru/news/3228748.html).
On the economic front, analysts celebrated what they described as Russia’s outstanding performance in response to the pandemic. For the first time ever, they said, Russia had done better than the rest of the world in coping with a crisis (themoscowtimes.com/2021/03/30/one-year-on-how-russias-coronavirus-lockdown-hit-the-economy-a73410).
And they welcome the fact that few of the apocalyptic predictions of a year ago about either health or the economy have proved to be true (https://vz.ru/society/2021/3/30/1091903.html).
But that crisis has hit ordinary Russians extremely hard. In St. Petersburg, the number of officially unemployed has more than tripled over the last year (gorod-812.ru/bezrabotnyh-v-peterburge-vse-ravno-vtroe-bolshe-chem-god-nazad/). Outside of Moscow, 44 media outlets have closed, and 40 percent of journalists have lost their jobs (regnum.ru/news/3229572.html).
Meanwhile, Russian commentators sharply criticized the fall of the government in Slovakia where the issue leading to that change was the previous regime’s decision to purchase and use Russia’s Sputnik-5 vaccine. Such a course of events, they suggested, was ridiculous (echo.msk.ru/news/2813278-echo.html).
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