Staunton, July 19 -- The introduction and then elimination of the unpopular QR system in Moscow that officials hoped would keep unvaccinated people out of restaurants and lead them to get their shots have driven down the rating of Mayor Sergey Sobyanin and, given that the Kremlin backed the idea, that of the United Russia Party as well, Ilya Grashchenkov says (realtribune.ru/otmena-qr-kodov-ne-ostanovit-padenie-rejtinga-sobyanina-i-partii-vlasti-politolog).
Given that the legislative elections are now less than two months away, this policy disaster, the Moscow commentator suggests, may have a profound impact on the results, forcing the powers that be to falsify the results more than they had planned and leading the population to view any announced results as fundamentally invalid.
Today, Russian officials said they had registered 24,633 new cases of infection and 719 new deaths, most in the two capitals, and that in some places new infections are spiking by more than double digits over the last week, with Tyva the worst where the increase has been 45.7 percent (https://t.me/COVID2019_official/3321, regnum.ru/news/society/3324376.html and (regnum.ru/news/3325545.html).
Moscow officials also announced that so far, the Russian medical system has performed 159.5 million tests for the coronavirus and said that the center has dispatched a major shipment of the vaccine to the Trans-Baikal which earlier had to suspend its immunization program because of a shortage of medication (regnum.ru/news/3325395.html and regnum.ru/news/3325150.html).
Meanwhile, in other pandemic-related developments in Russia today,
· The Moscow Patriarchate took steps to impose its position on it subordinates regarding vaccination, and the Spiritual Administration of Muslims of Russia issued a fetwa calling on all of the faithful to get their shots (ng.ru/faith/2021-07-19/100_210719faith.html and kavkaz-uzel.eu/articles/366152/).
· The Liberal Mission Foundation published a major report on the impact of the pandemic on Russian society and politics that argues the coronavirus has changed both beyond what either yet recognizes and in many cases irreversibly (liberal.ru/lm-ekspertiza/bolshe-chem-kovid-avtoritarnyj-rezhim-i-rossijskoe-obshhestvo-pered-liczom-pandemii).
· Because people would like to escape the cities if there is a spread of infection or a lockdown, demand for dachas nearby has driven prices for these rural residents up 12.1 percent over the last year (regnum.ru/news/3325366.html).
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