Staunton, July 26 – Because Vladimir Putin says he is against making vaccinations mandatory and because a large share of Russians don’t want to get the shots, the Russian government had adopted an alternative “hybrid” strategy of forcing people to get vaccinated: requiring employers to have a certain share of workers vaccinated and allowing them to let go without pay those who aren’t.
Not surprisingly, this has sparked outrage among many Russians; but there is an increasingly widely held view that Moscow will not be able to secure adequate vaccination rates unless it uses compulsion and that this is the most effective way without crossing one of Putin’s red lines (rosbalt.ru/blogs/2021/07/26/1912975.htmlkrizis-kopilka.ru/archives/86812regnum.ru/news/3329684.html and russian.eurasianet.org/россия-недоверие-к-госпропаганде-порождает-слухи-и-мифы-о-прививках-от-коронавируса
International travel is opening up, but Russians cannot enter neighboring Finland unless they have received a non-Russian vaccine. Helsinki does not recognize the Sputnik-5 medication as valid (thebarentsobserver.com/en/covid-19/2021/07/finland-welcomes-fully-vaccinated-travellers-sputnik-v-isnt-valid).
On the vaccine front, epidemiologists warned that more variants of the covid-19 virus are certain to emerge, but they also said that Russian vaccines should be effective in countering any or all of them and cautioned against panic (regnum.ru/news/3329520.html and regnum.ru/news/3329532.html).
On the economic front, the Russian government said that during the pandemic, those without much education were the most likely to suffer unemployment, even as the spread of the disease created new wealth for some oligarchs and set the stage for Russia to enter “Industrialization 4.0” (regnum.ru/news/3329449.html, vz.ru/economy/2021/7/26/1110728.htmlrosbalt.ru/posts/2021/07/26/1913079.html).
Meanwhile, in other pandemic-related developments in Russia today,
· The Kremlin said it is still requiring those meeting with Vladimir Putin to go through an extensive testing program, including several days in quarantine, despite the fact that he has been vaccinated (regnum.ru/news/3329639.html).
· The health ministry announced that it is beginning the test of a recombinant vaccine against covid-19 (regnum.ru/news/3329927.html).
· And Deputy Prime Minister Tatyana Golikova called for extending the sanitary shield program from 2024 to 2030 (regnum.ru/news/3329581.html).