Is Russia giving the US a lesson on freedom?
On August 22, 2021, Russian President Vladimir Putin came out against any type of mandatory vaccination program. Although he did concede that people getting the vaccine will play a major role in Russia’s attempts to “overcome this pandemic,” Putin reassured Russian citizens that nobody would face harsh punishment for not refusing to vaccinate.
During a recent meeting with the ruling United Russia party, Putin declared “We need to do everything we can to overcome this pandemic,” and even added that “the best tool we have in this fight is vaccination.”
“Vaccination is the main weapon against the spread of the virus. Importantly, no one should be forced to get a jab. Pressure, where people may lose their jobs, is even less acceptable. People must be convinced of the need to get the vaccine,” Putin stated.
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“This must be done persistently and respectfully. People should be convinced of the need to get vaccinated in order to save their lives and health, and to protect their loved ones.”
RT highlighted the following:
On Friday, Russian Health Minister Mikhail Murashko announced that more than 43 million people have had one of the country’s four domestically made coronavirus vaccines. However, this number, he said, “is not enough yet” and “we will feel safer when the number of people who have protection against infection reaches more than 80%.” At present, close to one in four Russians has been immunized against the virus, and it is unclear how many more may have developed antibodies after being infected with the virus across the nation.
However, Tyler Durden of ZeroHedge, observed that “Putin’s comments appear to be at odds with official policy throughout several sectors of the Russian economy.” Of note, in Moscow, “companies in industries such as hospitality, leisure and transport must demonstrate that 60% of their staff have been vaccinated or else face hefty fines. Officials have confirmed that businesses can send home employees without pay if they refuse, in order to meet the quotas.”
Indeed, Russia is not this monolithic, top-down totalitarian state some folks in the American media portray it as. There’s plenty of dissent in the country and there’s undoubtedly large swathes of the country that have bought into globalist hobby horses that would otherwise undermine it.
Since Vladimir Putin took power in 1999, Russia has taken an interesting path to political and economic development. In the 1990s, many people thought that Russia was on the verge of becoming a failed state due to its controversial crony capitalist privatization schemes, rampant corruption, and institutional decay since the collapse of its Soviet Union predecessor state. However, Putin’s strong pragmatic rule has allowed Russia to get back on its feet and become a regional power with a solid economy.
Russia is no bastion of right-wing freedom, but it does occasionally show some pragmatic signs of governance every now and then.