Is the WHO Too Soft on Russia? Critics fear Russia is using the WHO’s structural weaknesses to validate its coronavirus approach.

File Photo of World Health Assembly at WHO, with Alex M. Azar II at the Podium, adapted from image featured at geneva.usmission.gov

… Russian and international health experts have raised fresh concerns over the WHO’s public stance, saying … defense of questionable statistics and overly pro-government comments demonstrate[] Russia’s influence … and highlights … organizational weaknesses […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia’s health system under strain as the virus surges back” – AP/ Daria Litvinova

Medical Symbol with Pole, Serpents, Wings, adapted from image at lanl.gov

“… Russia’s health care system, vast yet underfunded, has been under significant strains … as the pandemic surges again and daily infections and virus death … break records. Across the country, 81% of hospital beds … set aside for coronavirus patients were full … Wednesday. Three times last week, the Russian government reported … record … daily deaths … [T]he […]

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RUSSIALINK: “In a Poor Russian City, Coronavirus Hits Hard; The pandemic has combined with poverty to push Ivanovo’s healthcare system to its breaking point.” – Moscow Times

Covid-19 Coronavirus file photo, adapted from image at cdc.gov

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Felix Light – IVANOVO, Nov. 20, 2020) In this hardscrabble city in central Russia, the morgues are full and well-paid jobs are scarce. Though many of Russia’s outlying regions are struggling with the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic, Ivanovo — a working-class city of 400,000 located 300 kilometers northeast of Moscow — is coping […]

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Kremlin Must Start Now and Work Hard to Overcome Russian Resistance to Getting Immunized, Experts Say

File Photo of Blue-Gloved Hand Holding Syringe and Injecting Arm, adapted from image at nih.gov

(Paul Goble – Window On Eurasia – Staunton, Nov. 15, 2020) With the prospect that one or more vaccines against the coronavirus will be available in the near future, the Russian government must launch a massive effort to overcome the skepticism of Russians and get the vast majority of them to get the shots when they become available, experts say. […]

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Bah Humbug! Russian Santa Faces Fine For Protesting Ban On Holiday Celebrations

Coronavirus File Photo adapted from image at cdc.gov

… Moscow police detained a man dressed as Grandfather Frost … on Red Square near the Kremlin … where he was protesting a city ban on holiday celebrations […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Russia registers 22,410 new Covid-19 cases, all-time high of 22,055 recoveries, all-time high of 442 deaths – HQ”- Interfax

Coronavirus File Photo adapted from image at cdc.gov

Russia registered 22,410 new Covid-19 cases, the all-time high of 22,055 recoveries, and the all-time high of 442 deaths in the past 24 hours, the coronavirus response headquarters said […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “25,000 medical students are sent out to help Russia’s COVID-struck hospitals” – Barents Observer/ Atle Staalesen

Covid-19 Coronavirus file photo, adapted from image at cdc.gov

“The virus is putting the healthcare system on its knees. A massive number of students are now sent out to aid.” “… According to the federal healthcare chief, several regions are now running out of available hospital bed[s]. … About 270,000 additional hospital beds are now being prepared for new patients. But medical staff is increasingly … [facing a] shortage. […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Pandemic to cease seriously affecting Russia’s economy at start of 2021, budget to be key issue – Belousov”- Interfax

Coronavirus File Photo adapted from image at cdc.gov

MOSCOW. Nov 11 (Interfax) – The coronavirus will very likely cease substantially affecting Russia’s economy by the end of 2020 or early 2021, while the main issue next year will be the budget as well as the necessity to replace budget expenditures with investments, First Deputy Prime Minister Andrei Belousov said on Wednesday during the “Strong Ideas for a New […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Russian Ruble, Stocks Surge on Vaccine Optimism; Airlines and oil companies top performers as Pfizer announcement on vaccine effectiveness buoys markets.” – Moscow Times

File Photo of Blue-Gloved Hand Holding Syringe and Injecting Arm, adapted from image at nih.gov

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – November 9, 2020) The Russian ruble and stock market soared Monday, hitting their strongest levels in months as global markets cheered positive news from one of the frontrunners in the coronavirus vaccine race. American pharma giant Pfizer and German BioNTech said their vaccine, currently in Phase 3 medical trials, was 90% effective in preventing Covid-19 […]

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TRANSCRIPT: Ambassador Sullivan’s Interview with Nezavisimaya Gazeta

John Sullivan file image, adapted from image featured at usembassy.gov

(U.S. Embassy Moscow – Oct. 23, 2020) Mr. Konstantin Remchukov, Editor-in-Chief, Nezavisimaya Gazeta NEZAVISIMAYA GAZETA: So, Mr. Ambassador, as you mentioned, the time for the last months was unusual, so many frustration for people, so many bad news. And culture has always been a good retreat for people to boost up their energy, morale, spirits, and everything. So I’m very […]

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RUSSIALINK: “‘We’re in Hell’: Russia’s Second Wave of Covid-19 Is Catching the Regions Off Guard” – Moscow Times

Medical Symbol with Pole, Serpents, Wings, adapted from image at lanl.gov

Medics in hospitals across Russia voiced frustration that authorities failed to use the summer respite to prepare for a second coronavirus wave. (Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Pjotr Sauer – Oct. 27, 2020) In a video widely shared across Russian social media last week, dozens of bodies wrapped in black plastic bags line the walls of a decrepit basement in […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Pandemic to cost Russia 9% of GDP in 2020-2021 – Siluanov” – Interfax

Anton Siluanov file photo

Measures to combat the coronavirus pandemic and cover the budget revenue shortfall will cost Russia around 9% of its GDP in 2020-2021, Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Putin: Russia’s Rise in Coronavirus Deaths Due to Improved Methodology” – Moscow Times

Medical Symbol with Pole, Serpents, Wings, adapted from image at lanl.gov

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Oct. 22, 2020) Coronavirus deaths are on the rise in Russia partly because of improved cause-of-death methodology, President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday. Russia’s national coronavirus information center has confirmed a total of 25,242 Covid-19 deaths after reporting record daily fatalities of over 200 in 10 of the last 15 days. By comparison, daily Covid-19 deaths […]

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‘Crisis Of Trust’: Russia’s Pandemic Fatigue Combines With Wariness Of Expert Advice

Covid-19 Coronavirus file photo, adapted from image at cdc.gov

Across the world, a growing ‘pandemic fatigue’ appears to be exacerbating the spread of the coronavirus …. Many governments have brought back restrictions they had lifted …. But while many European countries have imposed stringent measures again … Russia has in many ways carried on as normal […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Peskov denies that Russia could have shipped defective ventilators to U.S.” – Interfax

Dmitry Peskov file photo adapted from image at kremlin.ru/wikimedia commons

MOSCOW. Oct 21 (Interfax) – Russia could not have shipped defective ventilators to the United States, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said. “This couldn’t have happened. These ventilators are broadly used in medical institutions and hospitals in very different cities across Russia. Some ventilators might break down. Any device sometimes breaks down and requires repairs,” Peskov told journalists when commenting on […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Moscow Mayor: Return to Full Lockdown ‘Impossible'” – Moscow Times

Coronavirus File Photo adapted from image at cdc.gov

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Oct. 19, 2020) Moscow will not return to a full coronavirus lockdown like it did in spring as long as residents abide by current restrictions, Mayor Sergei Sobyanin said Monday as new cases continued to rise. The epicenter of Russia’s Covid-19 outbreak, Moscow confirmed 5,376 new infections in the past 24 hours and almost 367,000 […]

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RUSSIALINK: “2 in 3 Medics Say Russia Unprepared for Second Coronavirus Wave – Poll” – Moscow Times

Covid-19 Coronavirus file photo, adapted from image at cdc.gov

Around two-thirds of Russian medics believe that the country is not ready for a second wave of the coronavirus, according to a survey published by the VTimes news website Thursday […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia Approves Second Covid-19 Vaccine Before Phase 3 Trials” – Bloomberg/ Jake Rudnitsky

File Photo of Blue-Gloved Hand Holding Syringe and Injecting Arm, adapted from image at nih.gov

“Russian health authorities approved a Covid-19 vaccine created by a former biological weapons research laboratory for public use, marking the second time the Kremlin has bypassed accepted scientific protocol as it tries to field a defense against the pandemic. A vaccine developed by the Vector State Virology and Biotechnology Center in Siberia has been registered, … Putin said …. registered […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Putin’s entourage inoculated against coronavirus” – Interfax

File Photo of Blue-Gloved Hand Holding Syringe and Injecting Arm, adapted from image at nih.gov

MOSCOW. Oct 6 (Interfax) – Russian President Vladimir Putin said that many of his relatives and friends have been injected with a Russian coronavirus vaccine. “In my entourage, very many people close to me, and close relatives, we had them vaccinated. All staff who work around me. We are talking about tens of people,” Putin said at a meeting with […]

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Pandemic has Pushed 6.1 Percent of Middle-Class Russians into Poverty, HSE Experts Say

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, Sept. 26, 2020) The coronavirus pandemic has cut the incomes of 24 percent of the members of the Russian middle class and driven 6.1 percent of them into the ranks of the country’s poor, according to an analysis of Rosstat data by scholars at Moscow’s Higher School of Economics. Before the pandemic, […]

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Coronavirus Numbers Rising Rapidly in Moscow, Major Russian Cities

Covid-19 Coronavirus file photo, adapted from image at cdc.gov

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, September 27, 2020) Coronavirus infections are rising rapidly in Moscow and other major Russian cities, with the number of cases in the capital jumping from 1050 three days ago to more than 2,000 today, the result, experts say, of the start of flu season and declining caution among Russians (svpressa.ru/economy/article/276981/, kp.ru/daily/217187.5/4293934/, regnum.ru/news/3074643.html, […]

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RUSSIALINK: “How Will a Second Wave Affect Russia’s Economy? The damage won’t be as devastating, but the long-term impacts will linger.” – Moscow Times

Cash, Calculator, Pen

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Jake Cordell – Sept. 29, 2020) Russia’s economy should be able to weather the ravages of a second wave of the coronavirus better than the first, economists say, but uncertainty and volatility will remain for the foreseeable future. As Russia records a sharp spike in new infections and Moscow starts to roll out new restrictions […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “‘Nobody wants to kill business’; Moscow is experiencing a spike in coronavirus cases, but there’s no lockdown in sight” – Meduza

Coronavirus File Photo adapted from image at cdc.gov

“Moscow is experiencing a sharp increase in new coronavirus cases[,] [a]s of Friday, September 25, …record[ing] 1,560 new cases in the last day – 510 more than the day before … nearly twice as many as last week. … the highest daily increase … since June 12. … Also on September 25, Russia recorded more than 7,000 new coronavirus cases […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Tricky data; ‘Sputnik V’ developers respond to Western critics, but the debate might overlook the vaccine’s biggest problem” – Meduza

File Photo of Blue-Gloved Hand Holding Syringe and Injecting Arm, adapted from image at nih.gov

“… [In response to concerns about their Lancet-published data, Russian vaccine] developers say … the methods … give only rough values …. [a] problem [that] would not have arisen … if their sample size had been larger. … [But they] do not explain … why they limited their trials to so few people. … [S]pecialists say … Gamaleya Center[] research […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Aeroflot’s Domestic Passengers Back to Pre-Coronavirus Levels” – Moscow Times

File Photo of Airplane Approaching Runway About to Land

With Russia’s borders shut, domestic flights carried almost as many passengers as last year in August. (Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Sept. 22, 2020) Aeroflot – Russia’s largest airline – carried almost as many passengers on domestic flights this August as it did in 2019, as Russia’s borders remained closed and millions took their summer vacations at home. Aeroflot Group […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia to cut defence spending in bid to prop up ailing economy; Continued support for less well-off set to wipe out fiscal surplus of recent years” – Financial Times/ Henry Foy

File Photo of Close-Up of Line of Russian Soldiers in Dress Uniforms for Parade, adapted from image at georgewbush-whitehouse.archives.gov with credit to Eric Draper

“Russia will spend more on supporting its economy than funding its armed forces next year for the first time since 2014 … ahead of critical parliamentary elections. … [with economic] doldrums … amid low oil prices and western sanctions … [and with the economy] contract[ing] sharply … due to … coronavirus …. The Kremlin announced …  [higher] spending … to […]

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Because of Pandemic, Moscow This Year Spent More on Economy than on Defense

Covid-19 Coronavirus file photo, adapted from image at cdc.gov

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, September 19, 2020) The pandemic has introduced major changes in Russian government policy but perhaps not one greater than this: for the first time in a very long time, the Russian government has spent more on promoting the economy than on maintaining and developing its military (sobkorr.org/news/5F6610F248362.html). The number of new cases […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russian schools open with classroom, cafeteria precautions” – AP

Covid-19 Coronavirus file photo, adapted from image at cdc.gov

“Russian children have returned to schools …. [T]eachers underwent mandatory virus tests …. Temperature checks are conducted each morning … [S]chool schedules were amended to reduce the number … attending at the same time. Authorities also limited … school cafeterias and recreation areas …. Masks in schools are not mandatory for all of Russia’s 85 regions ….” If a child […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Russia registers 5,363 new coronavirus cases, 128 deaths in past 24 hours – HQ” – Interfax

Covid-19 Coronavirus file photo, adapted from image at cdc.gov

MOSCOW. Sept 10 (Interfax) – Russia registered 5,363 new coronavirus cases and 128 coronavirus-related deaths in the past 24 hours, the operative headquarters said on Thursday. “Over the past day, 5,363 Covid-19 cases were confirmed in 84 regions of Russia, including 1,302 active asymptomatic cases (24.3%),” the headquarters said. The daily growth in new coronavirus cases is on the rise. […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia Publishes Virus Vaccine Results, Weeks After Approval” – AP

Medical Symbol with Pole, Serpents, Wings, adapted from image at lanl.gov

“Russian scientists have belatedly published first results from early trials into the experimental Sputnik V vaccine, which received government approval last month but drew considerable criticism from experts, as the shots had only been tested on several dozen people before being more widely administered. In a [Lancet] report … [vaccine] developers … said it appeared to be safe and to […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Results of Sputnik V vaccine trials published in The Lancet” – Interfax

File Photo of Blue-Gloved Hand Holding Syringe and Injecting Arm, adapted from image at nih.gov

[Lancet: thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(20)31866-3/fulltext] MOSCOW. Sept 4 (Interfax) – One of the world’s most reputable medical journals, The Lancet, has published the results of the Phase 1 and Phase 2 clinical trials of the Russian coronavirus vaccine Sputnik V, developed by the Gamaleya Institute. “The research being published in The Lancet proves the high level of safety and efficacy of the Russian […]

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Russia Officially Passes One Million Coronavirus Infections Mark – An Understatement or a Marginal One?

Covid-19 Coronavirus file photo, adapted from image at cdc.gov

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, September 1, 2020) Russian officials reported registering 4729 new cases of coronavirus infection over the last 24 hours, bringing the total since the start of the pandemic to 1,000,048. They also said the number of new deaths equaled 123, bringing that toll to 17,299 (t.me/COVID2019_official/1403). Passing a million officially registered cases has […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Russia Predicts Highest Population Decline Since 2006 Amid Pandemic”- Moscow Times

File Photo of Crowd in Russia Including Person Waving Russian Flag with Eagle

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Sept. 2, 2020) Russia’s population could see its biggest decline in 14 years in 2020 as the coronavirus pandemic has raised the country’s death rate amid falling birth rates, according to government forecasts reported by the RBC news website Tuesday. The Covid-19 outbreak will also push Russia’s poverty rate up from 12.3% in 2019 to […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Elderly Coronavirus Vaccine Recipients ‘Healthy,’ Russian Developer Says” – Moscow Times

File Photo of Blue-Gloved Hand Holding Syringe and Injecting Arm, adapted from image at nih.gov

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Sept. 2, 2020) Elderly scientists who helped develop Russia’s Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine have not reported adverse effects after being injected, the head of the research institute behind the inoculation told the state-run RIA Novosti news agency Wednesday. Sputnik V’s registration last month as the world’s first coronavirus vaccine before large-scale clinical trials has sparked […]

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‘No More than 10’ Russian Regions Now Providing Accurate Coronavirus Data, Mathematical Analysis Shows

Covid-19 Coronavirus file photo, adapted from image at cdc.gov

Over the last month, regions including Moscow are reporting figures that reflect what their leaders have promised but that are improbable when subjected to mathematical analysis […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Russia sees 4,696 new Covid-19 cases, 120 deaths in past 24 hours – HQ” – Interfax

Coronavirus File Photo adapted from image at cdc.gov

MOSCOW. Aug 25 (Interfax) – Russia registered 4,696 new Covid-19 cases and 120 coronavirus-related deaths in the past 24 hours, the coronavirus response headquarters said on Tuesday. “Over the past day, 4,696 new Covid-19 cases were confirmed in 84 regions of Russia, including 1,253 active asymptomatic cases (26.7%),” the headquarters said. Russia has reported record low numbers of new Covid-19 […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Coronavirus Pandemic Rebalances Russia’s Corporate Landscape” – Moscow Times

Men Sitting Around Long Oval Boardroom Table, File Photo of FIFA Officials Meeting with Vladmir Putin

Earnings season shows tech companies setting record-high share prices, and closing the gap on Russia’s energy giants. (Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Jake Cordell – Aug. 20, 2020) Russia’s younger technology companies have weathered the coronavirus pandemic significantly better than the country’s heavyweight energy and commodities giants, corporate results released during the summer earnings season has shown. While tech empires […]

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Pandemic-Driven Pessimism Greater in Moscow and Major Cities than Elsewhere, Poll Finds

Coronavirus File Photo adapted from image at cdc.gov

A survey of 5,000 Russians … finds the level of pessimism about the future is greater in Moscow and other major cities than elsewhere … [T]hese cities were hit harder by the pandemic than anywhere else […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Surreal scenes inside Russia’s battle against the pandemic” – National Geographic/ Nanna Heitmann

Covid-19 Coronavirus file photo, adapted from image at cdc.gov

“Patients continue to fill hospitals as rumours and cynicism spread about a vaccine.” “… [A]ll these [Moscow] hospitals [are now COVID-19 centres,] devoted to one disease that didn’t exist … months ago[] … shocking inside the hospitals. From the moment you’re in the elevator you’re in a ‘red zone’ … considered contaminated[,] [e]verywhere … a red zone[,] … nurses prepar[ing] […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Covid-19 mass vaccination in Russia may start in Dec.-Jan. – Gamaleya Center director” – Interfax

Medical Symbol with Pole, Serpents, Wings, adapted from image at lanl.gov

A Covid-19 mass vaccination campaign may start in Russia in December-January, Alexander Gintsburg, director of the Gamaleya National Research Center for Epidemiology and Microbiology of the Russian Health Ministry, said […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia Registers World’s First Covid-19 Vaccine Despite Safety Concerns” – Wall Street Journal/ Thomas Grove

Coronavirus File Photo adapted from image at cdc.gov

“Officials in Russia and the West express alarm at the speed the vaccine was developed.” “[With Putin’s blessing,] Russia registered the world’s first Covid-19 vaccine … amid [anticipation, skepticism and ] safety concerns …. Moscow’s [state-run] Gamaleya Institute for Epidemiology and Microbiology developed the vaccine … [with] military testing, accelerated clinical evaluations and shortened trial times …. Russia [plans] … […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Six Months into the Coronavirus Outbreak, Russia’s Statistics Still Provide More Questions than Answers” – Moscow Times

Russia Regions Map

Analysis of excess fatalities show regions may be underreporting deaths from Covid-19 […]

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RUSSIALINK: “‘World’s First’ Coronavirus Vaccine: What We Know So Far About Russian Injection” – Moscow Times

Medical Symbol with Pole, Serpents, Wings, adapted from image at lanl.gov

Russia has become the first country to approve a vaccine against the coronavirus … Putin said … despite widespread concerns about its safety. Russia … has the world’s fourth-highest coronavirus caseload […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Industry Body Calls Russian Covid-19 Vaccine a Pandora’s Box” – Bloomberg/ Ilya Arkhipov, Jake Rudnitsky

Coronavirus File Photo adapted from image at cdc.gov

“Russia’s race to allow civilian use of a … coronavirus vaccine before clinical trials are complete could put people at risk, according to a local association of multinational pharmaceutical companies[, the Association of Clinical Trials Organizations (ACTO) … represent[ing] … multinational companies with clinical trials in Russia, including Pfizer, AstraZeneca and Novartis AG]. The government plans to give a vaccine […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia’s race for virus vaccine raises concerns in the West” – AP/ Daria Litvinova

Medical Symbol with Pole, Serpents, Wings, adapted from image at lanl.gov

“Russia boasts … it’s about to become the first country to approve a COVID-19 vaccine, with mass vaccinations planned as early as October using shots … yet to complete clinical trials … [S]cientists worldwide are sounding the alarm …. Moscow sees a Sputnik-like propaganda victory …. But  … there’s no published scientific evidence … backing Russia’s late entry to the […]

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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

… 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 […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Which Countries Are Open to Russians – and Vice Versa?” – Moscow Times

Truck at Russian Border Crossing

… Russia also closed its borders to most foreign citizens, with exceptions for diplomats, relatives of deceased people, high-demand workers and other categories […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia Sets Mass Vaccination for October After Shortened Trial” – New York Times/ Andrew E. Kramer

Medical Symbol with Pole, Serpents, Wings, adapted from image at lanl.gov

“The announcement raised concerns that Russia would begin inoculations and declare victory in the race for a coronavirus vaccine without fully testing its product.” “Russia plans to launch a … vaccination campaign in October … [for] coronavirus … yet to complete clinical trials, raising international concern about the methods the country is using to compete in the global race to […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Moscow’s Watcom shopping index almost back to normal as shoppers return to Moscow’s malls” – bne Intellinews

File Photo of Cash Register with Drawer Open and Hands of Cashier

“Moscow’s Watcom shopping index has regained almost all the ground lost from a lockdown on the capital earlier this year” “[The] Watcom shopping index [tracking foot traffic at Moscow’s leading malls] has recovered almost all … ground lost during the [spring] lockdown …. [Moscow’s] infection rate … has fallen …. [T]he epidemic is far from over in Russia …. A […]

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