Russia is again in a state of siege. Authorities and doctors predict the onset of the fourth wave of coronavirus infection. And since the press secretary of the President of Russia Dmitry Peskov expressed doubt about the imminent end of the pandemic, there is no doubt that the covid will rage for a long time. But that’s not all: in the coming autumn, we are trapped by the deadly “Hong Kong” flu and the usual seasonal SARS. Against this background, the controversy between supporters and opponents of vaccination has intensified.
So, in the Chelyabinsk region, the chief freelance epidemiologist of the region suggested treating only vaccinated patients for COVID-19 free of charge, thereby reducing health care costs. Her higher-ranking comrades immediately corrected her, they say, she got excited, because she was tired of working in the “red zone”, but we know from experience that all the most incredible from the point of view of law and common sense in our country are implemented as a matter of priority. Besides, from time to time the terrible word “lockdown” pops up. In general, we survive as best we can.
But some of our closest neighbors, who did not hesitate to send Russian diplomats home on a hand trolley, seem to have everything under control.
Another parade took place in Pyongyang on September 9. This time – on the occasion of the formation of the DPRK. The stands are full of people, just like before the pandemic. Almost everyone is without masks. But the main event was the passage of the “box” of the “fighters of the front post of the anti-epidemic front and the soldiers of the health care” – a special paramilitary unit created under the Ministry of Health. These are military personnel who are responsible for creating quarantine points, disinfecting facilities and monitoring compliance with anti-epidemiological regulations.
The “box” in bright orange protective suits and gas masks stood out sharply among the ranks of servicemen in their usual ceremonial uniform.
The fighters of this unit blocked the city of Kaesong, where they found a defector from South Korea, allegedly infected with a coronavirus infection (the diagnosis was not confirmed), and delivered humanitarian supplies to this city. They disinfected train stations, streets and other public places, controlled the wearing of masks and gloves:
– The Korean leadership was one of the first to take measures against COVID-19, which included not only the complete closure of borders, but also the creation of an emergency anti-epidemic committee of the DPRK with headquarters on the ground, recalls Alexander Mostov, Chairman of the Committee of Heads of the IGU of the DPRK… – However, in June this year, the chairman of state affairs Kim Chen In criticized cadres who “showed ignorance, inability and irresponsibility in performing important tasks” in connection with the protraction of the anti-epidemic struggle. Probably, the emergence of “fighters of the anti-epidemic front” is a direct consequence of reforms aimed at strengthening discipline in the fight against the pandemic.
In the DPRK, the fight against the pandemic was equated in importance with the protection of the state border. With all that it implies. The party ordered the party to wear masks and keep the distance – they wore and respected. He orders to go get vaccinated – they will be moved in columns. But it cannot be denied that the “draconian” measures and their strict observance under the watchful eye of the “fighters” have yielded results.
WHO has not recorded COVID-19 outbreaks in this country, although it tried very hard. Perhaps it makes sense to learn from the experience and create a similar unit under the Russian Ministry of Health?
– With us, this is possible with the introduction of an emergency regime, – explains the lawyer Peter Khromov… – According to the federal law “On the protection of the population and territories from natural and man-made emergencies” of December 21, 1994, the situation with the COVID-19 pandemic can be qualified as a federal emergency, the elimination of which should be carried out by the forces and means of the executive authorities of the constituent entities of the Russian Federation caught in the emergency zone.
According to the lawyer, the emergency regime should have been introduced in April-May 2020, instead of the fictional “long weekend”. This would give support to small and medium-sized businesses, clearer coordinated actions of all regions
– We had such semi-paramilitary units that were engaged in anti-epidemiological prevention in places of increased danger: where there were burial grounds or the threat of infection with plague or anthrax, – reminds Director of the Levada Center Lev Gudkov*. – But the fight against epidemics should still be carried out by civilian structures. The network of medical institutions must be developed
As a sociologist, I believe that there will be no positive effect from the creation of paramilitary units under the Ministry of Health. Public opinion is more likely to turn out to be negative: it will most likely be considered another Potemkin village, which will not replace the methodical work to prevent epidemics.
Sociologists generally like to talk about “public opinion”, they are supposed to work. But what do “people in uniform” think?
– For Russia, this idea is categorically unsuitable, – said a former intelligence officer Vasily Vereshchak… – What is acceptable for the Koreans and the Chinese is completely unacceptable for the citizens of Russia. What inspires approval and even delight in them (their methods are identical) will not find understanding among the population in our country. We are different in many ways, it is useless to force us. Here you need to act carefully, voluntarily, educationally. And it doesn’t matter whether it is the fight against coronavirus or some other kind of reforms. Our mentality rejects harsh methods, this is perceived negatively, and sometimes just with hostility.
In general, those who like to “build” and “squeeze” should moderate their ardor: the North Korean experience on Russian soil is unlikely to take root.
* ANO “Yuri Levada Analytical Center” was entered by the Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation into the register of organizations performing the functions of a foreign agent.