Staunton, September 1 – Polls show that a majority of Russians, including a majority of those with higher education, still do not want to get vaccinated against the coronavirus. In part, this reflects their lack of trust in the government; but in part, some sociologists suggest, it is a form of protest against that government.
Russians recognize that their votes don’t mean much in the Putin system and that they are compelled to do most of what the government wants. But they aren’t happy about it, and they see refusing to get vaccinated as a way of responding to the regime and even sending it a message, analysts say (novayagazeta.ru/articles/2021/09/01/vlast-i-narod-na-sotsialnoi-distantsii).
Intensifying this anger and resistance is the Kremlin’s refusal, out of chauvinism and greed, commentator Igor Eidman says, to allow foreign vaccines into Russia, something that would add to public confidence in the medications, something their absence only adds to suspicions (gordonua.com/blogs/eydman/v-rossii-nacionalnaya-katastrofa-s-covid-19-zapadnye-vakciny-izmenili-by-situaciyu-no-vlasti-iz-za-shovinizma-i-korysti-ih-ne-zakupayut-1570123.html).
Trust is declining not only between the Russian population and the Russian government but also between Russia and other countries. According to Yury Trutnyev, presidential plenipotentiary for the Far Eastern FD, since the pandemic began, “the level of trust among countries has fallen” (kp.ru/daily/28324/4467803/).
Today, the Russian authorities reported registering 18,368 new cases of infection and 790 new deaths over the last 24 hours, continuing two trends, a decline in the number of new infections while deaths remain high and a decline in both in the capitals while they both remain high elsewhere (t.me/COVID2019_official/3501 and regnum.ru/news/society/3352534.html).
Russian epidemiologists are suggesting that the current situation may not last, that the number of infections may rise again before the end of September and that death rates may even go higher (regnum.ru/news/3358872.html and severreal.org/a/koronavirus-mnenie-infektsionista/31437956.html).
One reason for that pessimism is that vaccination efforts have lagged in distant villages where the pandemic is now starting to spread (regnum.ru/news/3358497.html). Another is the start of school. In most places, face-to-face instruction has resumed but not in all; and in universities, while 45 percent of instructors have been vaccinated, only 12 percent of students have (regnum.ru/news/3358673.html and kp.ru/online/news/4422353/