Clinical Trials Over, New Russian Vaccine to Be Given to Doctors and Teachers Soon, Population by October, for Free, Murashko Says

Coronavirus File Photo adapted from image at cdc.gov

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, August 1, 2020)

Russian health minister Mikhail Murashko says that now that clinical trials of the coronavirus vaccine one Russian team has developed have been completed successfully, the government will move quickly to vaccine medical workers and teachers (vz.ru/society/2020/8/1/1052898.html).

Later, he continues, the authorities plan to begin to inoculate the rest of the population beginning in October. All such vaccinations will be given free to Russian citizens, the minister said at the opening of a new infectious disease hospital in Nizhny Novgorod (tass.ru/obschestvo/9102831).

Despite skepticism about the medication given the way in which testing has been rushed, many Russians are eager to get the vaccine and the Russian authorities, including Murashko, are trumpeting what they see as a Russian victory in the race to achieve this breakthrough. None has indicated, however, whether it will make this vaccine available to other countries.

Another question, given polls showing that many Russians do not want to risk getting the vaccine at least initially, is how rapidly Moscow will ramp up what promises to be a massive propaganda campaign to lead people to get the vaccine as it becomes available so that the economy can reopen.

The pandemic, however, continues, with officials warning that it is “too soon” to weaken requirements that people wear masks, maintain social distance and practice good hygiene (mbk-news.appspot.com/suzhet/rano-rasslablyatsya/). And the statistics on the pandemic in Russia released today only reinforce such recommendations.

According to Moscow authorities, 5462 new cases were registered in Russia in the last 24 hours, bringing the total to 845,443 cases since the pandemic began. In addition, the authorities reported that there were 95 deaths from the disease in the last day, pushing that toll over 14,000 to 14,058 (t.me/COVID2019_official/1178).

The disease continued to ebb and flow across the country, with openings and re-closings generally tracking that pattern (regnum.ru/news/society/3021975.html). Some heads of the hardest hit regions are coming up with ever more elaborate euphemisms to try to conceal what is happening on their territories (novayagazeta.ru/articles/2020/08/01/86480-kollektivnyy-immunitet-k-zayavleniyam-gubernatora).

Russia began restoring international flights but, media reports to the contrary, it will not complete doing so by August 11 because each bilateral route requires mutual agreement (rbc.ru/society/01/08/2020/5f2509469a794741fec96bbb?from=column_1). Moscow did reopen the border with Abkhazia, and Moscow city and oblast officials relaxed controls on theaters, movie houses and concerts.

At the same time, Moscow officials closed 24 stores for failing to maintain the mask requirement (interfax.ru/moscow/719927), and the Russian government announced that it would change the formula according to which it allocates funds to regions because so many aren’t able to cope (regnum.ru/news/economy/3025975.html).

Economic news continued to be dire. The ruble declined in value against foreign currencies for the 10th straight day and is expected to head lower in the coming weeks as well (svobodaradio.livejournal.com/4502771.html). Analysts say Rosneft may default (finanz.ru/novosti/aktsii/moodys-zayavilo-ob-ugroze-defolta-russnefti-1029455358).

Ninety percent of loans let in April are now non-performing Russian banks say (krizis-kopilka.ru/archives/78670), and almost a third of all Russian businesses are currently operating at a loss (krizis-kopilka.ru/archives/78644). And given budgetary stringencies, Moscow is cutting back spending on its space program (finanz.ru/novosti/aktsii/pravitelstvo-pustit-pod-nozh-raskhody-na-kosmos-1029455184).

[article also appeared at windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2020/08/clinical-trials-over-new-russian.html]