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Window on Eurasia — New Series: Russians Don’t Trust Authorities about Any Aspect of Pandemic


Paul Goble

            Staunton, September 6 – Because public trust in the authorities is so low,  most Russians don’t trust anything the powers that be are now saying about the pandemic including that the country won’t get a second wave, that schooling won’t be shifted to distance learning, and that life in Russia will soon return to what it was before the coronavirus arrived (regnum.ru/news/3055218.html and ura.news/articles/1036281016).

            Instead, officials find themselves in a situation where people are drawing their own conclusions, such as seeing each uptick in number of infections as heralding a new wave of the pandemic or even viewing assurances by Putin and Moscow Mayor Sergey Sobyanin about the future as efforts to distract the population.
            Russian officials are spending ever more time denying rumors: Officials in Udmurtia have strenuously denied that orders came from above for them to underreport coronavirus deaths (regnum.ru/news/3055227.html), and Sobyanin is begging Russians not to believe that distance learning is about to return (newsru.com/russia/06sep2020/sobyaninrumours.html).
            Skepticism about the Russian vaccine appears to be especially high, and Russian media are featuring interviews with Russian researchers who suggest that the data published in the British journal Lancet show that the Sputnik-5 medication is both effective and safe (eurasia.expert/massovoe-proizvodstvo-vaktsin-pozvolit-preodolet-koronavirus-v-rossii-v-2021/).
            Meanwhile, the pandemic continues to ebb and flow across the country, allowing re-openings in some places and new closures in others (regnum.ru/news/society/3051649.html). The official figures for the last 24 hours are 5195 new infections and 61 additional deaths, bringing those totals respectively to 1,025,505 and 17,820 (t.me/COVID2019_official/1435).
            A new law entering into force will allow the increasing number of people who are headed to bankruptcy but owe no more than 500,000 rubles (7,000 US dollars) to do so without going to court. Some fear that in the absence of a judicial finding, such people may be at risk in the future (krizis-kopilka.ru/archives/79800).
            Sports officials are suggesting that the pandemic has underscored the importance of isolated sports training officials so that any infections will not undermine Russia as a sports power (regnum.ru/news/3055148.html).

Window on Eurasia — New Series