Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Moscow Claims Success against Pandemic as Third Wave Hits Russia East of the Urals

Paul Goble

            Staunton, June 7 – Moscow officials insist that they have the pandemic under control, and Health Minister Mikhail Murashko said today that “more than half” of Russia’s regions have reduced the deathrate to pre-coronavirus levels. But much of the country, especially east of the Urals, feels that they are the victims of a new, third wave.

            For a sampling of the increasingly upbeat Moscow accounts, see meduza.io/episodes/2021/06/07/v-minzdrave-uvereny-chto-v-rossii-s-kovidom-spokoyno-vse-no-tsifry-govoryat-ob-obratnom-lyudi-vse-esche-zarazhayutsya-i-umirayut-a-tempy-vaktsinatsii-krayne-nizkie and regnum.ru/news/3289643.html.

            For a sampling of the increasingly negative news from Siberia, the Far East and St. Petersburg, see regnum.ru/news/society/3287593.html, regnum.ru/news/3289723.html, egov-buryatia.ru/press_center/news/detail.php?ID=108626, regnum.ru/news/3289723.html, twitter.com/siberian_times/status/1401803387067191298 and regnum.ru/news/3290013.html.

            Even systemic opposition leaders are beginning to criticize the gap between what the government is saying and what reality is on the ground. Sergey Mironov, head of Just Russia, says that “there is only one rational explanation” for what Russians can see. The failure to counter the pandemic effectively is “the result of anti-popular reforms, inequality and poverty” (regnum.ru/news/3290527.html).

            “Trust in the powers that be,” the opposition leader says, has been undermined, the majority of people are convinced that the government is indifferent to their misfortunes, and this attitude is projected onto the vaccination campaign.”  But opposition to making vaccinations mandatory.

            Duma speaker Vyacheslav Volodin had to deny rumors that new legislation he is preparing about the country’s health system would make the shots mandatory because Russia’s rate of vaccination is lagging so far behind the numbers needed to achieve Kremlin goals (regnum.ru/news/3289921.html).

            Feeding such rumors were media reports that the government is discussing making vaccinations mandatory for some, such as immigrant workers (sobkorr.org/news/60BE7427B7B5E.html).

            Today, Russian officials reported that they had registered 9429 new cases of infection and 330 new deaths from the coronavirus over the last 24 hours. They also reported Russia has administered 140 million virus tests, a number almost equaling the Russian population (t.me/stopcoronavirusrussia/4788 and rbc.ru/rbcfreenews/60bdc2359a7947e9ccda8958).

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

·         Russians who have had the coronavirus and recovered are petitioning the government for assistance in helping them overcome its long-term effects (currenttime.tv/a/post-covid/31291102.html).

·         Brazil has reversed itself and will make use of Russia’s Sputnik-5 vaccine, while the Republic of the Congo has registered Sputnik-Lite for use there (twitter.com/sputnikvaccine/status/1400970747015839748?s=20 and  sputnikvaccine.com/rus/newsroom/pressreleases/odnokomponentnaya-vaktsina-sputnik-layt-zaregistrirovana-v-respublike-kongo/).

·         And Russians are reacting to a WHO report saying that there is no realistic possibility for victory over Covid-19 and that instead humanity will have to learn to live with it (ehorussia.com/new/node/23626).

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