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Window on Eurasia — New Series: Russians Needing Certification They’re Coronavirus Free Can Now Buy Fake Diagnoses Online


Paul Goble
            Staunton, September 10 – Because Russians must provide certification they are free of the coronavirus to get certain jobs or to travel, a new underground industry has arisen to provide them with what they need: Underground websites are now selling fake diagnoses for 2500 rubles (35 US dollars) (dailystorm.ru/rassledovaniya/v-moskve-bolnye-covid-19-mogut-poluchit-spravku-s-otricatelnym-rezultatom-na-koronavirus-za-2500-rubley).
            Such diagnoses may introduce still more errors in Russian figures on the coronavirus pandemic. But they are far from alone: Moscow is changing the rules on diagnosis of those with flu if they submit negative test results for the virus (regnum.ru/news/3059714.html), and doctors have been told not to count certain cases as coronavirus-related because of problems with testing (regnum.ru/news/3059727.html).
            But officials continue to release daily numbers. Today, Moscow said there had been 5363 new cases of infection, bringing the cumulative total to 1,046,370 and 128 new deaths, upping that toll to 18, 263 (regnum.ru/news/3059253.htmland regnum.ru/news/3059172.html). But officials in Daghestan acknowledged that their statistics are incomplete (kavkaz-uzel.eu/articles/354013/).
            Possibly to help overcome popular resistance to getting the Russian vaccine, the Russian health ministry has suggested requiring that those who want to travel abroad have it, opening the way for new fraud if those selling certifications of one kind will likely sell certifications of another (regnum.ru/news/3059883.html).
            The pandemic continued to ebb and flow across Russia, with some re-openings and some new closures (regnum.ru/news/society/3057754.html). The Kremlin insisted that reopening had not led to new spikes (znak.com/2020-09-10/kreml_otkrytie_rossiyskogo_yuga_ne_privelo_k_vsplesku_sluchaev_zabolevaniya_covid_19), but health officials reported they were occurring in 11 regions (tass.ru/obschestvo/9420077).
            Doctors said this was no surprise because of the reopening of schools, and they suggested that by mid-September, a second wave of the pandemic will spread across the Russian Federation (ura.news/news/1052449150and regnum.ru/news/3059347.html). They also said that even with the vaccine, Russia won’t achieve herd immunity until a year from now (regnum.ru/news/3059640.html).
            Vladimir Putin said that the impact of the pandemic on the Russian economy was less than on those of other leading countries (regnum.ru/news/3059516.html). Experts pointed out, on the basis of Rosstat data, this is because the Russian has fewer small firms and a less developed service sector (rbc.ru/economics/09/09/2020/5f58e8699a794783405417fc?from=column_25).
            But the impact on Russia’s export of oil, something on which Moscow has long relied, was enormous. Because of falling demand and falling prices, Russia received 37.7 percent less from the sale of oil abroad the first part of this year than during a comparable period in 2019 (sobkorr.org/news/5F59C75BA9CDF.html).
            Meanwhile, in other pandemic-related developments in Russia today,
·         Two Orthodox training academies, one in St. Petersburg and one in Orenburg, have imposed quarantines because of coronavirus infections (regnum.ru/news/3059339.html and credo.press/232932/).
·         The Russian internet trade organization warns that there is no guarantee that bricks and mortar stores won’t be shuttered again if the pandemic gets worse later this year (ura.news/news/1052449037).
·         A new survey finds Russians don’t trust their country’s healthcare system. A major reason for that is the failure of medical officials to provide adequate guidance to the population on what people should do if they think they have been infected (newizv.ru/news/society/10-09-2020/dazhe-dengi-ne-pomogayut-pochemu-rossiyane-ne-doveryayut-sisteme-zdravoohraneniyaand https://gorod-812.ru/my-i-covid-19/).

Window on Eurasia — New Series