Staunton, July 15 – While some regional leaders value the powers they have acquired to make decisions about the pandemic, even if these are almost always unfunded liabilities, some, in places like Sverdlovsk and Vladimir Oblast, are now publicly asking Moscow to again tell them what to do (regnum.ru/news/3322705.html and regnum.ru/news/3323170.html).
This may even be what Moscow is counting on, with at least one commentator suggesting that mandatory vaccination will happen on the basis of a Soviet-style demand from below, an orchestrated “request of the toilers” (nakanune.ru/articles/117275/).
Russian officials today reported registering 25,293 new cases of infection and 791 new deaths from the coronavirus over the last 24 hours, both up and the latter in record territory, as the pandemic continued to intensify in most places but eased in some, including in Moscow (t.me/COVID2019_official/3297 and regnum.ru/news/society/3322005.html).
On the vaccine front, the Kremlin said Russia doesn’t need to import any foreign vaccine because it has enough but it added that it wants the EU to agree to import the Russian vaccine to its member states (regnum.ru/news/3322873.html and regnum.ru/news/3322869.html). One Duma member said calls for importing foreign vaccines are “defeatist” (regnum.ru/news/3322727.html).
And it is being reported that Russian oligarchs are profiting from the agreement to test a Chinese vaccine on Russians (iarex.ru/articles/81790.html).
Meanwhile, in other pandemic-related developments in Russia today,
· Russian officials have used the pandemic to justify the incarceration in a hospital of a Navalny ally so that she would not register as a candidate for the Murmansk assembly on time (thebarentsobserver.com/en/democracy-and-media/2021/07/violetta-grudina-faces-court-approved-forced-hospitalization).
· Now that the Kremlin has signaled it won’t import foreign vaccines, ever more Russians are considering going abroad to get their shots (rosbalt.ru/piter/2021/07/15/1911501.html).
· Komsomolskaya Pravda is now publishing a listing of prominent Russians who have died from the coronavirus. So far the list exceeds 150 (kp.ru/daily/28304/4445080/).
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