Staunton, June 18 – Russians in the regions resent that decisions about how they should respond to the pandemic are being made in Moscow on the basis of the capital’s unique experience where infections have been much higher than elsewhere, especially given that regional elites feel they have no choice but to follow Moscow’s lead.
This Moscow-centric approach by Moscow officials has always been true but it is especially obvious now during the pandemic where the situation in many regions is entirely different than in the capital but the regions are being forced, by the center and by their own elites, to do whatever is being done in the center (business-gazeta.ru/article/513203nakanune.ru/articles/117139/
Today, Russian officials reported registering 17,262 new cases of infection and 453 new deaths from the coronavirus over the past 24 hours. Moscow and Moscow oblast were the site of more than half of these, as the city and oblast set daily records, although St. Petersburg had one more death than the capital (t.me/COVID2019_official/3089, regnum.ru/news/3299959.html and regnum.ru/news/3299923.html).
The Mediazone news agency found in the course of an investigation that one of the reasons for confusion about how many people died from coronavirus in Russia in 2020 was that many people infected with the coronavirus were listed as dying from the pneumonia it led to even though the pandemic was the primary cause (zona.media/article/2021/06/18/pneumonia).
Despite the spike in Russia, Moscow announced that will open regular air travel with the US and seven other countries on June 28, and will open travel to travel to Turkey on June 22. At the same time, the Russian government said that it would soon permit cross-border land travel with China (tass.ru/obschestvo/11691161 and regnum.ru/news/3300520.html).
In Moscow which is now the largest hotspot in Russia, officials extended restrictions until June 29, even as they ended the enforced time off. They indicated that even more draconian limitations may be ahead (sobyanin.ru/koronavirus-kak-budet-rabotat-obschepit and dailystorm.ru/news/novyy-ukaz-sobyanina-rezhim-nerabochih-dney-zakanchivaetsya-antikovidnye-mery-usilivayutsya
And Moscow Mayor Sergey Sobyanin said that re-vaccination or booster shots must begin immediately (regnum.ru/news/3299843.html) and acknowledged only 25 percent of the city’s population has high levels of antibodies, despite his past suggestions that 60 percent already are immune (ria.ru/20210618/immunitet-1737571422.html).
Anti-vaxxer bloggers are becoming more active as are people who offer fake vaccination certificates (themoscowtimes.com/2021/06/18/the-hill-to-die-on-russians-intent-on-resisting-mandatory-vaccination-a74255, snob.ru/profile/24429/blog/175955/ and znak.com/2021-06-18/v_moskve_vozbudili_bolee_20_ugolovnyh_del_za_poddelku_dokumentov_o_vakcinacii
Meanwhile, in other pandemic-related developments in Russia today,
· Moscow has established a national data base of coronavirus mutations (regnum.ru/news/3299543.html).
· Gamaley Laboratories say they don’t plan to modify the Sputnik-5 vaccine in response to new variants. Earlier they have said that their vaccine can deal with them (regnum.ru/news/3299531.html).
· The Duma election campaign will have to take place mostly online but there is no talk yet about delaying the September vote (apn-nn.com/analytic/uchastnikam-vyborov-pridetsya-perevodit-agitatsiyu-v-onlayn/ and regnum.ru/news/3300053.html).