Russian authorities are trying to suppress reports about the actual extent of coronavirus spread across the country, so as not to disrupt the turnout for Vladimir Putin's actual coronation scheduled for April 22.
The situation with coronavirus in Russia is taking a rather worrying turn. Indeed, judging by official statements, the number of confirmed cases is not that high for a country as vast as Russia, and on the other hand, in the last few days, unprecedented measures have been taken to combat the virus.
Closely monitoring the developments in Russia's regions, even before the first measures were announced to combat coronavirus in Moscow, I repeatedly noted a remarkably illogical point that in the areas bordering China and in regions where millions of Chinese reside, no cases had been revealed for months!
In turn, a large number of acute respiratory viral infections and pneumonia cases were recorded in Russia's Far East, with more than 1,600 people killed by the latter, according to unofficial data.
In turn, dozens of coronavirus cases were detected in the past two weeks alone – mainly in Moscow and St. Petersburg. In turn, against the background of the construction of a 500-bed infectious center in the Kaluga Highway area, a coronavirus monitoring center was set up in Moscow.
But the thing is that, judging by the opening-day presentation, the center's task is not so much about monitoring the spread of the virus across Russia but rather the so-called debunking of fake news or refutation of related rumors in the country's regions. This all looks very weird indeed because the fact is that it's pro-Kremlin media that spin most of the fake news about COVID-19.
For example, The Financial Times wrote, citing a report by the European External Action Service (EEAS), that Russian media have been escalating panic and fear, spreading misinformation about COVID-19 in multiple languages across Western platforms.
In the EU alone, more than 80 cases were identified of Russian fake accounts spreading misinformation in social networks. Previously, the same accounts partook in spinning false information about the situation in Syria and "yellow vests" protests in France. They had been operating in English, German, Spanish, Italian, and French.
So a legitimate question arises, why was that monitoring center actually organized in Moscow? But, let's move on...
While the monitoring was telling Putin about measures taken in Moscow to curb the spread of the virus, cases of infection have already been spotted in 15 regions of Russia. Besides Moscow and its region, cases were detected in Samara, Kaliningrad, Tver, Tambov, Kaluga, Nizhny Novgorod, Penza, Sverdlovsk, Arkhangelsk, and Yaroslavl regions, as well as Krasnoyarsk Area, the Republic of Tatarstan, and the Republic of Khakassia.
However, the list doesn't mention the wonderful city of Omsk, where four people died right out in the street over the past day alone, as reported by local, but not federal, media. Also surprising is the absence of Perm Area, where 558 patients remain under doctors' supervision, including 249 quarantined.
But another thing is also important in this coronaviral collapse, which is being strangled in Russian news amid the floods of lies. Despite the epidemic, Moscow City Hall and Mayor Sobyanin are acting inconsistently, insisting both on quarantine and efficiency of urban services.
Realizing the need to put Moscow on lockdown, Sobyanin is afraid of disrupting voters' turnout on April 22, when people are expected to "crown King Putin" for an eternal rule. That is, people's lives, or rather the number of possible infected and dead, are nothing compared to the craving for an unhindered "coronation".
And perhaps concealing the true scale of the disaster and setting up monitoring enters only to spin fake news about chaos in Europe, is nothing but easing tensions in Russia so that the "coronation" could see a pompous success! But the grave consequences of such "coronation" for Russian demographics could attain a truly apocalyptic scale.