Staunton, June 14 – Watching the reimposition of anti-pandemic restrictions in Russia at a time when most of the rest of the world is loosening them, ever more Russians are blaming their government for failing to deal with the pandemic in general and for allowing the new upsurge to take place.
Some commentators say that the pandemic is a test the government is failing (iarex.ru/articles/81391.html); and others, like Rosbalt’s Sergey Shelin, argue that “the fault for the new upsurge of the epidemic lies entirely on the authorities” because the authorities have not been honest with the population (rosbalt.ru/blogs/2021/06/14/1906493.html).
Regime epidemiologists in contrast are blaming greater social mobility as summer approaches, increasing tiredness with restrictions, slow vaccination rates, and new strains that existing vaccines may not be as effective against (regnum.ru/news/3295803.html,
kp.ru/daily/27290/4428936/ and ria.ru/20210615/koronavirus-1737073407.html).
Russian officials reported registering 13,721 new cases over the last 24 hours, more than half of them in Moscow and Moscow Oblast, and the highest level in months; but they reported only 371 deaths, a number close to what it has been (t.me/COVID2019_official/3063). Infections were on the rise elsewhere as well (regnum.ru/news/society/3287593.html).
Moscow and St. Petersburg have led with the reimposition of restrictions and imposition of new ones, with other regions following (regnum.ru/news/3295698.html, regnum.ru/news/3295746.html, ehorussia.com/new/node/23680
Many of these are unpopular and facing resistance not only from the population but also from businesses which feel they are being asked to bear more burdens without any help (regnum.ru/news/3295837.html). In Adygeya, officials have announced no one will be treated in hospital if they aren’t vaccinated, outraging residents (natpressru.info/index.php?newsid=12471).
One pandemic-related development likely to have a serious consequence within Russia is that the Saudis have postponed the haj to Mecca for the second year in a row (svpressa.ru/travel/article/301269/). As a result, Muslims within Russia are likely to increase their pilgrimages to local holy places, boosting the influence of sufi leaders who guard them.
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