Thursday, September 23, 2021

With Elections Over, Russians Again Focusing on Pandemic

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Sept. 21 – With the three days of elections now over, Russians are again focusing on the pandemic at least from what one can tell from the media which devoted much less attention to it in the days preceding and during the vote. Coverage today focuses on three things: rising infections, increasing restrictions, and questions about Putin’s self-isolation.

            In Moscow city and oblast, infections are up, although that may simply reflect election-related delays in reporting at least in the case of the city. The numbers in the oblast appear to be part of a longer-range trend. In any case, these infections were contracted before and not during the vote ( and

            Moscow schools have restored the mandatory mask requirement, while schools elsewhere have done that or even shifted to distance learning or other restrictive measures (,, and

            But perhaps the most striking development is this: Putin’s self-isolation is raising questions about the social responsibility of those around him and thus about their competence to make decisions not only about their own health and that of the president but about the country more generally (

            The pandemic continued to ebb and flow across the country, with Russian officials reporting that they had registered 19,179 new cases of infection and 812 new deaths over the last 24 hours ( and They also reported that the delta strain is now dominant in Russia (      Vladimir Putin for his part sent a message to a meeting on the economy declaring that the Russian economy has now fully recovered from the consequences of the pandemic, despite continuing reports by government agencies and not just independent observers of difficulties and declines (

            Meanwhile, in other pandemic-related developments in Russia today,

·         Officials said that Russia has now restored air links with Spain, Slovaki, Iraq and Kenya (

·         Many restaurants have been forced to close because of the pandemic but new ones with different business plans, including take-out, are emerging to take their places (

·         And reported cases of gender discrimination in Russian workplaces have declined so much over the last two years that a Superjob analysis concludes that the pandemic has defeated that longstanding problem and crime (

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