Kremlin Blames Coronavirus Surge on ‘Nihilism’ of Russian Citizens

Medics escort a man into a hospital where patients infected with the COVID-19 novel coronavirus are being treated in the settlement of Kommunarka outside Moscow on June 17, 2021. - The mayor of Moscow ordered mandatory vaccinations for residents of the Russian capital working in the service industry, citing a …

The Kremlin on Friday blamed Russians’ alleged nihilistic attitudes for Moscow’s surging Chinese coronavirus caseload, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) reported.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on June 18 that “overwhelming nihilism, a low vaccination rate, and the deviousness of the infection itself” are the causes of a recent surge in Chinese coronavirus infections in Russia’s national capital, Moscow.

“Peskov was echoing the opinion of Anna Popova, the head of Russia’s health watchdog Rospotrebnadzor. On June 17, she also had blamed the spike in daily infections on Russians’ disregard for preventative measures,” the U.S. government-funded RFE/RL noted on Friday.

“[The infection growth] is linked to three reasons that are completely clear,” Popova told Russia’s state-owned Rossiya-1 TV channel.

“The first is total nihilism for the measures that we used to protect ourselves from the coronavirus for a long time,” she said.

“Russia’s vaccination campaign had clearly not been as effective as desired,” Peskov admitted on Friday during a regular press briefing in Moscow.

Asked by a reporter if the Kremlin believed that non-adherence to Chinese coronavirus restrictions and a low vaccination rate demonstrated a “distrust of the government” among Russian citizens, Peskov replied, “No, far from it.”

“According to the Kremlin spokesman, a more detailed discussion is required to explain the reasons for this behavior, which cannot be done in the format of a regular conference call,” Russia’s state-run TASS news agency reported on June 18.

“As of early June, only 12 percent of Russia’s 146-million population had received at least one dose,” RFE/RL reported on Friday.

“Even in Moscow, only 15 percent of the city’s population of 12 million has been vaccinated,” the news site noted.

In an effort to combat the public’s reluctance to receive a Chinese coronavirus vaccination, Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin ordered “mandatory vaccinations for a number of service workers in the city” in an announcement issued June 16.

“On June 17, authorities in three other Russian regions — the broader Moscow region, the Siberian region of Kemerovo, and the Far East region of Sakhalin — said they planned to introduce the compulsory coronavirus vaccinations in the service sector, including in retail, education, and health care,” RFE/RL reported.

“Officials in the four regions ordered businesses and institutions involved in retail, education, health care, public transportation, beauty, entertainment and other industries that serve a large number of people to ensure that at least 60 percent of their staffs are fully vaccinated,” the Associated Press (AP) reported on June 17.

“In Moscow, the Moscow region and Kemerovo, officials set a mid-August deadline for the threshold to be reached. Sakhalin authorities did not set a deadline but said that individuals who refuse to get vaccinated without a valid medical reason would be suspended from work until they got their shots,” according to the AP.

“Critics of the requirement say there is no legal basis for companies to pressure staff to get shots in order to meet the decrees and avoid penalties,” RFE/RL noted on Friday.

Russian health officials have reported nearly 5.3 million cases of the Chinese coronavirus virus and almost 128,000 deaths from the disease since Russia’s Chinese coronavirus epidemic began last year. Observers believe Russia’s true coronavirus tally may be much higher than officially reported.


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