Moscow –Russians been gossiped about Vladimir Putin Health since the beginning of the epidemic – the Kremlin has always dismissed the flow of rumors as “absolute nonsense.” But on Monday, Putin took a different tone, with the president admitting that the latest wave of COVID-19 threatens his inner “circle”, and that he may have to quarantine as a result.
speaking in Public event in the Kremlin“Covid-19 problems have occurred even in my circle. We need to find out what is really happening. I think I will soon have to quarantine. Many people are sick around me,” Putin said. The president did not specify who was injured in his district.
the third COVID-19 The wave in Russia was especially brutal. According to a government report released last month, 215,000 Russians died of the virus in July, a 42 percent increase over the same time period last year. But even look Terrible death tollThe statement from the country’s leader, known for his “manly” lifestyle, appeared uniquely weak, surprising journalists who had been covering Putin’s business for decades.
“Max, what we confirmed [in the past] Pavel Lobkov, a veteran Russian television journalist, told The Daily Beast: “I remember during his first term in office from 2001 to 2004, Putin drank beer essentially from the same glass as us reporters from the Kremlin pond. He was never phobic, like [former Romanian dictator] Nicolae Ceaușescu, who washed his hands with alcohol after each handshake. “
The Russians are paying a heavy price for the nation’s classic fatalism. The Delta version of the COVID-19 virus is sweeping the country, killing thousands. Making matters worse is the fact that the Russians remain skeptical about the state-registered vaccines; Just 31 percent 144 million people have been vaccinated in Russia. Putin received the Sputnik V anti-COVID shot in the spring. “I can say that our vaccine is showing actual results,” he said She said in time.
Several senior Kremlin officials, including Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin, contracted the virus in the early months of the pandemic last year. Through it all, the Kremlin often boasted of the president’s “ideal health” and “purification tunnels” at his residence in Novo Ogaryovo, on the outskirts of Moscow. Everyone visiting the president must pass through tunnels equipped with facial recognition technology and test visitors’ body temperatures, according to the state news agency RIA, which released what it says is a video. shots tunnels.
Putin has also spent much of the pandemic hiding away in his beach house in the Black Sea city of Sochi. Last year, a Russian investigative news agency, Project, reported that Putin set up identical offices in each of his residences for TV addresses, so that Russians would not know whether the president was in Moscow or at his beach house.
In September 2020, The Daily Beast interviewed several hotel owners and taxi drivers in the Altai Mountains, a beautiful region bordering Central Asia. At that time, rumors spread that Putin was spending weeks at Gazprom’s residence in the Altai Republic. “While Russians die like flies, the Kremlin hides Putin in an underground cave,” Leonid Zaitsev, a local taxi driver and guide, told The Daily Beast at the time.
Since then, the virus has continued to spread through Russia’s parliament, infecting and re-infecting MPs in the lower house and upper house. By December 2020, out of the 11 infected MPs, at least five had tested positive for the second time, according to The Chairman of the State Duma Vladimir Volodin.
Fast forward to June of this year, when Moscow broke its own record for the epidemic 9,120 new cases of COVID-19.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov discussed the special precautions being taken to protect the president from the virus, She said In July: “You know that in the process of work, some people may come into contact with patients, and some of my chief interlocutors may be ill lately.” Peskov added that Putin’s visitors are subjected to “very comprehensive tests”. However, the situation is “a far cry from normal,” Peskov admitted.
But there are often underlying motives for such statements from Putin and his mouthpiece.
Sergei Markov, a pro-Kremlin analyst, offered his interpretation of the president’s recent statements to The Daily Beast: “The president talked about quarantine to prepare Russians for forced vaccination,” Markov said. “Compulsory vaccination will start immediately after the parliamentary elections this week.”