Staunton, June 20 – The Nenets Autonomous District today became the ninth federal subject to make vaccinations mandatory for at least certain large categories of the population. The others are Moscow, Moscow Oblast, Kemerovo Oblast, Sakhalin Oblast, Tver Oblast, Tula Oblast, Leningrad Oblast, and St. Petersburg (ura.news/news/1052490460).
The Kremlin continues to insist that these are all independent decisions by the regions rather than at the order of the center, although that insistence is wearing thin. The Russian government has lied so often about what it is doing that many Russians don’t believe it on this and aren’t willing to get the shots (msk.ru/blog/akashcheev/2857906-echo/).
Moreover, officials of the central government are backing up the regional authorities, declaring that businesses are well within their rights not to pay those they dismiss for not getting mandated vaccinations, something Moscow wouldn’t have to do if this weren’t central policy (regnum.ru/news/3300893.html).
Two other reasons for resistance to what the government so obviously wants are increasing reports of corrupt earnings from the sale of the vaccine among members of Putin’s inner circle (versia.ru/blizkie-k-golikovoj-farmoligarxi-poluchayut-milliardy-prodavaya-somnitelnye-preparaty-dlya-lecheniya-koronavirusa) and a memory from Soviet times.
The willingness of the state to divide people between the vaccinated and the unvaccinated, one commentator suggests, recalls the Soviet system in which those the regime wanted out of the way or who had been convicted of certain crimes were blocked from living within 101 kilometers of major cities (regnum.ru/news/society/3300968.html).
It is interesting that of all the things that Putin has done to restore Soviet-era arrangements, Russians are remembering this one almost certainly because it created two classes of people, something at variance with Soviet claims as well as with their own sense of justice. That is something the Kremlin would do well to recall as well.
Today, Russian officials reported a record 17,611 cases of new infection as well as 450 new deaths from the coronavirus as the pandemic continued to ebb in a few places and expand in far more, with Moscow and its region accounting for more than half yet again (t.me/COVID2019_official/3105 and https://regnum.ru/news/society/3296191.html).
The situation is deteriorating rapidly in the largest cities and in some regions, forcing Putin to appeal to the population to get their shots and other officials warning that if that doesn’t happen, the pandemic may spiral out of control (znak.com/2021-06-20/putin_prizval_narachivat_tempy_vakcinacii_i_poobechal_prodlit_vyplaty_za_borbu_s_covid_19 and rbc.ru/society/20/06/2021/60cf278f9a79477f0b368126