Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Kremlin Warns Against Politicizing Vaccination Questions, a Sign That is Already Happening

Paul Goble

            Staunton, July 14 – Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov says that Moscow does not support politicizing questions involving the coronavirus vaccine, a sure sign that this is already happening and one not surprising given the Russian government’s own policies (regnum.ru/news/3321868.html).

            Despite mounting infections and deaths from the pandemic, the Russian government is cutting spending on healthcare while increasing money allotted to the security services and reserve surpluses, an issue animating many Russians (finanz.ru/novosti/aktsii/pravitelstvo-rezko-sokratilo-raskhody-na-zdravookhranenie-regiony-i-socpodderzhku-rossiyan-1030607686).

            And politicians are caught between businesses which fear restrictions and a population divided about them so that those running for office in the upcoming parliamentary elections can only avoid the issue at the price of appearing to be out of touch or hypocritical (club-rf.ru/78/detail/5523).

            Today, Russian officials reported registering 23,827 new cases of infection and 786 new deaths from the coronavirus over the last 24 hours, the first being a slight decline and the second being a new record, with most of the increase taking place outside of the capitals (t.me/stopcoronavirusrussia/5241, regnum.ru/news/society/3315953.html  and https://regnum.ru/news/society/3322005.html).

            Tyva may soon follow Buryatia and impose a complete lockdown, even though statistics show that lockdown arrangements have not cut into the spread of the virus as much as many had hoped (regnum.ru/news/3321644.html and regnum.ru/news/3321667.html). Officials in many places are trying to get people to avoid crowds (dailystorm.ru/obschestvo/ne-pytaysya-pokinut-orsk-vlasti-orenburzhya-posovetovali-230-tysyacham-rossiyan-ne-vyezzhat-iz-goroda-iz-za-covid-19).

            Chuvashia has dropped its mandatory vaccination program in deference to Moscow even though its numbers have not significantly improved (idelreal.org/a/31356584.html).

            But their efforts in that direction are being undercut by hypocritical officials who continue to organize mass meetings when they serve the government’s interests (dailystorm.ru/vlast/vopreki-pandemii-koronavirusa-v-rossii-provodyat-forumy-v-ochnom-formate). Meanwhile, Moscow announced it will restart air links with France and the Czech Republic (regnum.ru/news/3322105.html).

            On the vaccine front, Moscow residents will vote on a measure calling for mandatory vaccinations. It will take place online for most (regnum.ru/news/3321741.html and newizv.ru/news/society/14-07-2021/moskvicham-predlozhili-progolosovat-za-prinuditelnuyu-vaktsinatsiyu-onlayn).

            Twenty percent of St. Petersburg residents have now received at least their first shots of the vaccine (regnum.ru/news/3322318.html). The pilots union has asked the government to permit the importation of foreign vaccines (mbk-news.appspot.com/news/vedomosti-profsoyuz/). China reportedly is now testing one of its vaccines on Russians (regnum.ru/news/3321292.html).

            Moscow government employees have reached vaccination rates of sixty percent or more, officials have announced, with rates among educators and healthcare workers now above 80 percent (regnum.ru/news/3321402.html).

            The developers of Russia’s troubled EpiVakKorona vaccine have decided to rename it Aurora, although it is unclear whether the new name will reduce opposition to taking it among the Russian population (novayagazeta.ru/articles/2021/07/14/na-avrore-shapka-gorit).

            And Reuters reports that the EU is not ready to go ahead with approval of any Russian vaccine, including Sputnik-5, because Moscow has repeatedly failed to provide the kind of data regulators routinely require (reuters.com/world/the-great-reboot/exclusive-european-efforts-assess-russias-sputnik-v-vaccine-stymied-by-data-gaps-2021-07-13/).

            On the economic front, many Russian businessmen are afraid of new lockdowns, but analysts suggest that the government won’t take that step but rather will increasingly divide the way it treats the population into categories depending on whether people have been vaccinated (rbc.ru/society/15/07/2021/60eecd5d9a794737ffc6e96c and ura.news/articles/1036282663).

            Meanwhile in other pandemic-related developments in Russia today,

·         Moscow city distributed via lottery among those who have been vaccinated the five cars it promised (regnum.ru/news/3321489.html).

·         Infections among Russian Orthodox religious are climbing but at a slower rate than earlier (regnum.ru/news/3322260.html).

·         A Moscow tattoo chain has offered to tattoo (temporarily) on the bodies of residents the QR codes needed to enter restaurants, cafes and bars (tvrain.ru/news/delivery_club_predlozhil_moskvicham_delat_vremennye_tatuirovki_s_qr_kodom_dlja_vhoda_v_restorany-533915/).

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