Staunton, July 17 – Vladimir Zhirinovsky, the flamboyant leader of the LDPR, says that the government will impose fines on those who haven’t been vaccinated but only after the September Duma elections lest it provoke a negative response among those opposed to getting the shots (nakanune.ru/news/2021/7/17/22610663/).
Zhirinovsky’s comments come as Russian vaccination rates continue to lag, often far behind even Third World countries, as the pandemic continues to intensify in many parts of the Russian Federation, and as anti-vaxxer groups become bolder in challenging calls for them to be vaccinated (meduza.io/feature/2021/07/17/v-rossii-menshe-zhelayuschih-vaktsinirovatsya-ot-koronavirusa-chem-v-nigerii-ruande-i-burkina-faso, newizv.ru/news/society/17-07-2021/vy-ubogie-mne-tak-vas-zhalko-antiprivivochnitsa-ustroila-skandal-v-sankt-peterburgeand sibreal.org/a/protivniki-prinuditel-noj-vakcinacii-vyshli-na-miting-v-omske/31363435.html).
Today, Russian officials reported registering 25,116 new cases of infection and 787 new deaths from the coronavirus over the last 24 hours, as the rates rose in most of the country and Moscow doctors said they were overwhelmed by the number of seriously ill patients (t.me/COVID2019_official/3313, regnum.ru/news/society/3324376.html and kp.ru/daily/28305.5/4445833/).
In the city of St.Petersburg, officials said more than 500,000 residents had been infected over the course of the pandemic (regnum.ru/news/3324596.html). In Tyva, officials imposed the tightest lockdown yet, with officials elsewhere considering the possibility they will have to follow (novayagazeta.ru/articles/2021/07/17/tuvinskaia-svadba and ura.news/news/1052494893).
A warning sign that the situation may be about to get even worse: Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin ordered the government to do an inventory of just how many doses of the vaccine are available and where they are being held (regnum.ru/news/3324594.html).
Meanwhile, in other pandemic-related developments in Russia today,
· A psychologist reports that the number of people needing psychological and psychiatric help because of the pandemic has skyrocketed (rosbalt.ru/moscow/2021/07/17/1911708.html).
· Falling incomes from the economic crisis has depressed sales of cars throughout Russia (profile.ru/cars/skachok-cen-i-deficit-kak-koronavirus-povliyal-na-rossijskij-avtorynok-894980/).
· Pandemic deaths have made glass-top caskets popular as a means of viewing the deceased without risking infection (newizv.ru/news/society/17-07-2021/innovatsii-epohi-koronavirusa-steklyannye-groby-vhodyat-v-modu