Staunton, June 24 – Dmitry Peskov, Vladimir Putin’s spokesman, says that vaccinations against the coronavirus remain voluntary because those who are employed in professions where they are mandatory can always change their jobs so as to avoid having to get the shots (tass.ru/obschestvo/11741171).
But that option is increasingly not really available as officials expand the number of professions requiring vaccinations and as ever more federal subjects make the shots mandatory for some or even all who live there and fine those who don’t get vaccinated (interfax.ru/russia/773914 and sibreal.org/a/31321074.html).
This back and forth comes as Russian registered more than 20,000 new infections in the past 24 hours for the first time since January and protests and petitions against compulsory vaccinations are spreading with some saying the vaccine program is all about keeping those in power where they are (regnum.ru/news/3304740.html, regnum.ru/news/society/3304893.html, realtribune.ru/prinuditelnaya-vakcinaciya-forma-klassovoj-borbyand krizis-kopilka.ru/archives/86221
Today, Russian officials reported registering 20,182 new cases of infection and 568 new deaths from the coronavirus over the last 24 hours with the two capitals accounting for more than half but with reports of deterioration elsewhere far exceeding the number of reports of improvement (t.me/COVID2019_official/3139and regnum.ru/news/society/3301374.html
On the economic front, many businesses are complaining about the impact of restrictions on their operation and calling on the government to provide aid. One LDPR deputy says that the economic situation in Russia is “critical and in certain sectors even dead” (regnum.ru/news/3304733.html).
Meanwhile, in other pandemic-related developments in Russia today,
· Consumer affairs chief Anna Popova says that “the new threat now is an epidemic of disinformation” which is making it far more difficult for the authorities to combat the pandemic (regnum.ru/news/3304874.html).
· Buddhist leaders in Russia have now followed Muslim ones and suspended most services while the pandemic rages. The Orthodox church continues to follow what might be called a local option with some parishes and bishoprics shut down and others fully operational (regnum.ru/news/3304714.html).