Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Fewer than Half as Many Russians Attended Easter Services This Year than Did in 2019

Paul Goble

            Staunton, May 4 – The number of Russians who attended Orthodox Easter services this year was 1.6 million, far less than the 4.3 million who did so in the last pre-pandemic year of 2019, according to interior ministry. People are coming back to church but at least so far many who attended earlier are not yet doing so (

            Today, the Russian authorities reported registering 7770 new cases of infection and 337 new deaths from the coronavirus over the last 24 hours. Both figures are down as the pandemic continued to ebb and flow across the Russian Federation (  and

            Russia’s health minister said that the situation remains troubling and that any decisions about reducing restrictions should be made exclusively on the basis of conditions in individual regions which vary widely ( What may be appropriate in one region, he added, may not be in another.

            On the vaccine front, Moscow officials acknowledged that Russia is lagging far behind Europe and the United States. Eight percent of Russians have received at least one shot. In the EU, 27 percent have; and in the US, 43 percent, a reflection both of Russian skepticism, logistical problems and widespread skepticism (

            To boost vaccination rates, the health minister is proposing that Russian hospitals at least offer the shots to everyone who is being checked out of them (

            On the economic front, Russians continue to spend more than they are earning, both by drawing down savings accounts and borrowing at rapid rates (

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

·         Vladimir Putin signed an order providing for the posthumous awarding of medals to doctors who died in the course of the pandemic (

·         Cities across Russia are struggling with how to combine May 9 parades and protection against the coronavirus. In some the choice has come down to having a parade but banning any viewers along the parade route (

·         Russians who want to fly abroad but who have tested positive for covid are now seeking guidance on how they can escape detection and get on planes for vacations (

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