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Window on Eurasia — New Series: Protests in Buryatia Highlight Widespread Opposition to Additional Coronavirus Restrictions


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Paul Goble

            Staunton, November 20 – Protests, mostly by business people, continue to spread in Buryatia, prompting the authorities to launch an investigation into the movement lest it grow into something the powers that be can’t manage (sibreal.org/a/30959940.htmland regnum.ru/news/3120789.html).

            The Buryat business community says that the new lockdown is “killing” their enterprises and demands that these be lifted as soon as possible, warning that if that doesn’t happen, the republic will suffer irreversible economic and political hardship.

            Meanwhile, there was more evidence from elsewhere about Russian anger at and resistance to any coronavirus restrictions. After Vladimir Putin said that regional officials must not try to cover up pandemic problems, numerous Russians weighed in to complain not only about regional officials but Moscow ones as well (regnum.ru/news/3121156.html).

            Also today, Moscow oblast officials reported that over the last month, they had been forced to deal with more than 1.1 million cases in which Russians there had violated the mask regime (regnum.ru/news/3121161.html), and a man was shot on a bus near St. Petersburg for asking a fellow rider to wear a mask (snob.ru/news/pod-peterburgom-ubili-muzhchinu-sdelavshemu-passazhiram-marshrutki-zamechanie-oni-byli-bez-masok/).

            The official toll continued to rise, with 24,318 new cases of infection and 461 new deaths, a daily record, reported (t.me/COVID2019_official/20180). But other Russian officials acknowledged that the actual death total was not the 35,311 the authorities now admit but rather 50,377 (https://zona.media/coronagraph?1120).

            The pandemic continues to spread and intensify, with officials requesting but not ordering people to avoid crowded spaces so as to protect themselves against infection (regnum.ru/news/society/3116623.html and versia.ru/v-rospotrebnadzore-rossiyan-prizvali-otkazatsya-ot-poseshheniya-obshhestvennyx-mest-bez-neobxodimosti).

            Moscow Mayor Sergey Sobyanin continued to be upbeat even though the number of new cases of infection rose from yesterday to today by 464 to 6902, the highest level ever for the Russian capital (regnum.ru/news/3121341.html, regnum.ru/news/3120720.html and egnum.ru/news/3120538.html).  The situation in regional cities like Perm, Voronezh and Irkutsk was must worse, even critical, officials acknowledged (regnum.ru/news/3121055.html).

            Hospitals and officials continued to struggle to find enough medications to fight not only the coronavirus but other diseases, and Moscow promised it would seek to purchase drugs for rheumatism abroad to overcome shortages (snob.ru/news/vlasti-rossii-poobeshali-uvelichit-import-preparata-dlya-lecheniya-revmatizma-i-covid-19-propavshego-iz-aptek/).

            On the economic front, the Skolkovo Center said that Russia’s GDP will not stop declining until there is widespread immunization and the pandemic has come to an end (regnum.ru/news/3120624.html). And ordinary Russians, anticipating a new lockdown, have rushed to take out more consumer loans (krizis-kopilka.ru/archives/81835).

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

·         The Education and Science Ministry said higher educational institutions have the right to cut fees if they go over to online instruction, a right most of them don’t want to exercise (echo.msk.ru/news/2745024-echo.html).

·         Russian regions are making plans for very restricted public celebrations of the New Year’s holiday (newizv.ru/news/society/20-11-2020/pir-vo-vremya-pandemii-kak-v-rossiyskih-regionah-budut-prazdnovat-novyy-god).

·         And ever more Russians are volunteering to help out hospitals and doctors, having concluded that “we are all in one boat” and have no choice but to help one another (zona.media/article/2020/11/20/help).

 

Window on Eurasia — New Series