Friday, April 30, 2021

Concerns about Growing Doctor Shortage in Russia Grow as Pandemic Continues

Paul Goble

            Staunton, April 28 – Vladimir Putin during his visit to St. Petersburg said Russian officials must work harder to prevent doctors from leaving the profession lest their departure leave the country without enough medical personnel to deal with any upsurge in the coronavirus in the coming months (

            Putin’s fears are shared by many Russians because in 2018, the last time the central government released figures, there was a doctor shortage of 50,000 in Russia, and media reports say that many doctors worn out by fighting the pandemic have left the profession over the last 14 months.

            Moreover, some Western news agencies are reporting that Russia already has entered a third wave of the coronavirus pandemic, something the Kremlin has denied but that a dramatic rise in infections in Moscow itself over the last 24 hours supports (, and

            Russia as a whole appears to be continuing on a plateau, with the authorities reporting registering 7848 new cases of infection and 387 new deaths from the coronavirus over the last day, a result of falling numbers in many places but spikes like in Moscow in others (

            As nervousness about the situation has spread, the Kremlin felt compelled to deny that it had different statistics about the coronavirus pandemic than it was releasing to the public. “There is no ‘double bookkeeping,’” Dmitry Peskov said. “There isn’t and cannot be” (

            According to epidemiologists, the number of people with antibodies to the coronavirus is rising in most Russian regions but not in all, including Moscow ( And officials are reporting that new strains of the virus are many times more infectious than the ones Russia has been dealing with (

             Moscow has announced that it will be sending 200,000 doses of vaccine to India but also that it will require coronavirus testing on everyone arriving in Russia from that country ( and

            At the same time, education officials called on schools to give their students and staff days off during the upcoming long holidays Vladimir Putin has extended (

            On the vaccine front, Brazil says it has rejected the Russian vaccine because the serum includes live viruses which could lead to the spread of the disease, something Russian doctors deny and have threatened to sue the Brazilians for defamation ( and

            And residents of Chechnya are reporting that officials there are compelling them to get the vaccine, something Moscow has repeatedly assured Russians will not be allowed (

            On the economic front, a new study shows that the pandemic has hurt the Russian middle class far more than those in other income classes. That is because government assistance programs do not extend to those classed as middle class. As a result, it is the source of “the new poor” in Russia (

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

·         The Russian Orthodox church has allowed the opening of a vaccination center in one of its facilities for the first time (

·         The Moscow Patriarchate says it will not restrict church attendance during Russian Easter (

·         A VTsIOM poll finds that Russians believe ambulance service has actually improved over the last year, but reports show that in many places, those who staff this service have come down with the coronavirus ( and

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