Corona infections and Russia

Moscow seems very calm these days. There is much less traffic. Most office workers now work from home. The schools are closed. The subway is also surprisingly empty. More and more often you see people with masks. Meetings of more than 50 people are prohibited. Moscow cinemas and Restaurants should also adhere to this rule. The huge shopping malls in Moscow are still open. But in these centers – as well as in the subway-disinfection measures are carried out regularly. Gyms are closed. The use of hookahs in Restaurants and Bars has been banned.

There was a bit of panic a week ago when shelves of daily necessities were suddenly emptied in supermarkets. Particularly in demand were buckwheat pearl barley and toilet paper. However, there are no supply bottlenecks, apart from respirators. The shopping panic, which has since subsided, is related to the fact that people had feared a greater restriction on freedom of movement in the city.

Moscow mayor: All over 65, please stay home

On Monday, the mayor of Moscow urged all people over 65 to stay at home or go to the dacha. The old people get 50 euros from the city for additional expenses. Elderly people who do not pay their housing costs and whose mobile phones no longer have credit may not be sanctioned on the instructions of the mayor. Social services and volunteers should take care of the elderly, who are asked to stay in their homes.

It is impossible to say that Russia has reacted too slowly to the Corona crisis. There were already 3,300 infected people in Germany when schools began to close on 13 March. When Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin ordered the schools of the Russian capital to close on March 16, there were only 109 officially registered Corona cases.

With 840 infected and one fatality so far, Russia is clearly in the lower range of the corona pandemic. More than half of those infected in Russia live in Moscow. 93,000 people are under the surveillance of the Russian Health Authority because they have entered from “Corona countries” or had contact with infected people.

The discipline of returnees from “Corona countries” to Russia regarding the prescribed two-week quarantine is apparently not particularly high. On Sunday, the head of the Russian Supervisory Authority Rospotrebnadzor called on the government to introduce punitive measures against people who do not comply with the quarantine. As a result, the Russian head of government Mikhail Mishustin ordered that such punitive measures should be worked out by Wednesday.

German media dissatisfied with official figures

For the ARD Tagesschau, the comparatively low number of people infected with Corona in Russia is cause for mistrust. In January, migrant workers from China arrived in Russia, writes Tagesschau.de citing an “analysis of the New York Times”. Since something is still concealed, suspected Tagesschau.de. but the public broadcaster did not do its own research in Moscow hospitals.

Spiegel correspondent Christian Esch says Vladimir Putin is keeping the number of people infected artificially low so that the referendum on the Russian constitutional changes on 22 April can be carried out as planned. Documents are not mentioned. The Spiegel correspondent describes the planned constitutional amendment as a" silent coup d’état", with which the incumbent extends his power.

One can certainly be annoyed that there is still no Alternative to Putin in Russia. But what is all the talk of a coup d’état without even a single concrete proof that the Constitution is being broken in Russia? It is obvious that double standards are being applied here: in Ukraine, where there was indeed a coup d’état in 2014, Der Spiegel does not want to admit to this day that an elected president has been driven out by force and the Constitution has been broken.

The Spiegel correspondent quotes the Russian opposition politician Aleksei Navalny approvingly. He had said that Putin would"sacrifice a large number of pensioners who become infected and seriously ill". By the way, Putin also said that if you can’t come to the polling stations, a ballot box will be brought into your home. Of course, the mirror didn’t mention that.

Whether the constitutional referendum can take place on 22 April is not yet certain. The" Left Front " calls for a postponement of the referendum to September because of the corona Virus.

Der Tagesspiegel: Russia " intensifies fear"

Heavy gun went up on Saturday the Tagesspiegel editor Claudia von Salzen. She claimed that the Kremlin was taking advantage of the corona crisis to “shake Western societies from within.” In this crisis, “Russian actors tried to damage people’s trust in the health system and to exacerbate panic and fear.“Evidence of Russian voles was not given.

Probably it was the Russian help for Italy that had so aroused the sharpener of the Tagesspiegel. On Saturday, the Russian president spoke on the phone with Italian Prime Minister Guiseppe Conte and confirmed his willingness to provide operational assistance in the fight against the Coronavirus.

The Russian Defense Ministry reported that since the weekend 14 Ilyushin-76 transport aircraft with breathing apparatus, disinfection trucks, as well as 100 doctors and virologists have flown from the Moscow military airport Chkalovsky to a military airport 30 kilometers from Rome.

Russian aviation experts had noticed that the Russian transport aircraft did not fly the direct route via Poland to Italy, but a detour of 1,000 kilometers across the Black Sea. Russian newspapers then reported that Poland had closed its airspace to Russian military aircraft because it was apparently assumed that these aircraft carry military equipment. The Polish Embassy in Moscow called the accusation “disinformation”. Moscow did not request the overflights.

Putin visits New major hospital in front of Moscow

In the United States, it was the Russian ambassador Anatoly Antonov who spoke of disinformation. Antonov called on Human Rights Watch not to spread false information about the fight against the Coronavirus in Russia.

The managing director of Human Rights Watch, Kenneth Roth, had written on Twitter that” rich Russians " would buy machines for artificial respiration of the lungs. These machines were then missing for the ordinary Russians.

The Russian ambassador to the United States called on Human Rights Watch to report on the lung breathing equipment in the new major hospital No. 40 “Kommunarka” south of Moscow. On Tuesday Vladimir Putin visited the new hospital where Corona patients are treated. Putin praised the hospital staff. The doctors worked on a “battle post”.

On Monday, Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin ordered the purchase of 5,700 ventilators and other medical equipment for use against the Coronavirus. The devices are produced by two subsidiaries of the state corporation Rostech. Russian television showed the modern production facilities. The order has a total volume of 90 million euros.

Last week, head of government Mishustin announced that Russia will set up a crisis fund of 3.6 billion euros. The money is intended to support the economy and citizens during the corona crisis. The prime minister said that an online alert system for citizens would be set up shortly.

In Russia, too, hospitals have been closed and merged over the past ten years. If the corona epidemic in Russia should take on greater proportions, it would be necessary to free up beds, a doctor from St. Petersburg said opposite the Novaya Gazeta. Twenty percent of the patients were hospitalized for flu viruses. That is not right. These people could also cure their illness at home.

Expected decline in economic growth

Experts expect Russian economic growth to decline by three percent because of the three crises that Russia has to contend with – the Corona crisis, the fall in oil prices and the fall in the rouble’s share price by twenty percent.

It can be particularly difficult for the 18 million Russians who work in small businesses. So far, the government has only promised relief for companies in the area of taxes and loans. Russia’s financial reserves are not unlimited. By devaluing the ruble by about 20 percent as a result of the fall in oil prices, the national wealth fund, from which money was taken in crisis cases, could quickly melt away. On the other hand, the Russian labor force will be cheaper by the price-fall of the ruble. This could encourage entrepreneurs to produce more in Russia.