Staunton, May 26 – Vladimir Putin appears to have put an end to any possibility that regions or republics may require that their residents be vaccinated. He said that no such requirement should be imposed, and Sakha, which had imposed one, immediately backed down (tass.ru/obschestvo/11483643 and vtimes.io/2021/05/26/kak-zastavit-rossiyan-privivatsya-a5227).
Putin’s words appear to reflect the views of most Russians who have denounced any effort to force people to get the shots (yakutiafuture.ru/2021/05/26/eti-lyudi-nastoyashhie-prestupniki-deputat-nikolaj-bondarenko-o-popytke-vlastej-yakutii-vvesti-obyazatelnuyu-vakcinaciyu/, mbk-news.appspot.com/suzhet/obshhaya-beda-bez-kanitelej/ and club-rf.ru/14/detail/5331).
But in the absence of a mandate, there is little chance Russia will ever reach herd immunity. Sixty percent of Russians continue to say that they have no intention of getting the shots, and the share willing to get them has not increased despite government propaganda efforts to promote that (levada.ru/2021/05/26/pochemu-rossiyane-ne-hotyat-privivatsya/).
Russian officials today reported registering 8373 new cases of infection and 406 new deaths from the coronavirus over the past 24 hours as the pandemic continued to ebb and flow across the country, continuing to hit the northern capital especially hard (t.me/COVID2019_official/2980and regnum.ru/news/society/3277253.html).
The education ministry announced that the overwhelming majority of students in higher educational institutions are receiving face-to-face instruction. Only about ten percent reportedly are using distance learning at present (regnum.ru/news/3280462.html).
Moscow Mayor Sergey Sobyanin called for establishing special zones in restaurants for those who have been fully vaccinated separate from the rest of tables where those without all their shots could eat (newizv.ru/news/society/26-05-2021/sobyanin-predlozhil-vvesti-v-restoranah-segregatsiyu-dlya-neprivityh-posetiteley
Meanwhile, in other pandemic-related developments in Russia today,
· The Kremlin announced that special arrangements would be put in place at the time of the Putin-Biden summit to prevent either man from becoming infected (kp.ru/daily/27283/4419212/).
· Russian inspectors say they have found sanitary norms imposed to fight the coronavirus have been violated in 46 Moscow Burger King and KFC restaurants (regnum.ru/news/3280521.html).
· Ever more Russians who have been infected and then recovered from the coronavirus are now seeking long-term rehabilitation (regnum.ru/news/3279706.html).