The first two posts in these series discussed the current situation in Ukraine from the point of view of geopolitics and an anti-imperialist critique of Western actions. However, while the points made in those posts were based on factual evidence, there is one point that hasn’t been discussed so far. That is the fact that this Ukraine narrative swooped in and almost completely eclipsed the Corona nonsense that we have been dealing with for the past 2 years. This part will discuss the reality of Russia, Covid 19 and the Sputnik V ‘Vaccine’.
The Reality of Russia and Covid
In order to begin looking at this question, we need to start with Putin’s views on Corona and what policy positions he took during the ‘deadly pandemic’. Unfortunately it remains a fact that the Russian government supported the ‘deadly pandemic’ narrative. Here are some examples of the Russian policies towards Covid 19.
Russia used lockdowns as a means to ‘control the virus’ during the ‘first wave’ of Covid 19. These lockdowns – as well as a ban on foreign travelers to Russia – began to be introduced near the end of March 2020. This legislation, signed in April 2020 by Vladimir Putin, outlines fines of 300,000 to 700,000 roubles as a punishment for spreading false information regarding the situation regarding Covid 19. Violating quarantine is also a criminal offense according to this law if people become ill with Covid 19 due to the breach and can be punished with prison time.
Furthermore, Moscow introduced a ‘pass system’ for travel in April 2020, a draconian move that fits in well with later measures such as vaccine passports:
On April 11 , Mayor Sergei Sobyanin signed a decree, introducing special digital passes to travel around Moscow and the Moscow Region using personal or public transport. This measure was imposed to curb the spread of coronavirus as much as possible.TASS
The Russian lockdown did not last as long as in some other countries. There were also fewer lockdowns there than elsewhere but there was another regional lockdown in Moscow as late as October 2021, demonstrating that Russia has not given up on that policy position. This regional lockdown disputes any argument that Russia did a lockdown because it was ‘duped’ by other actors.
The Sputnik ‘Vaccine’, Vax Passports and Forced Jabs
As well as promoting a large number of Corona policy positions, Russia also developed their own ‘vaccine’ against Corona. According to the Sputnik Vaccine website:
Sputnik V is the world’s first registered vaccine based on a well-studied human adenovirus vector platform [similar to the Oxford/AstraZenena jab developed in the UK]. It has been approved for use in 71 countries with a total population of 4 billion people.
The vaccine’s efficacy is 97.6%, based on the analysis of data on the incidence of coronavirus among Russians vaccinated with both vaccine components between December 5, 2020 and March 31, 2021.
There hasn’t been a large amount of discussion about the Sputnik V ‘vaccine’ in the West. Most criticism of these jabs has focused on the Pfizer, followed by the Moderna, AstraZeneca and Janssen.
It would be off topic to perform a detailed analysis of the harms of the Sputnik V injections, and the lack of discussion and information coming out of Russia on these jabs makes it difficult to assess. Given the similarity between the Sputnik V and AstraZeneca, which has been admitted to cause blood clots (among other things), we cannot assume it is safe.
There are in fact some hints about the dangers of these Russian jabs. Mark Crispin Miller has been doing a series over the past couple of months where he documents people who ‘died suddenly’ with no cause of death or a cause in line with proven jab side effects. He also compiled one of these for Russia:
Those of us who’ve noticed the appalling toll of those “vaccines” worldwide have naturally been hoping that the jabs administered in Russia (and in China) aren’t so dangerous; but that’s evidently wishful thinking. Since Russia has no public database, like VAERS, we must rely on Russian press reports of “sudden deaths,” most of them with no cause noted, while two were due to strokes, and one to (what else?) COVID.
Riley Waggaman has also examined the risk of the Sputnik V injections as one of the few commentators to analyse Russia during the current Covid madness. He pointed out that the makers of the Sputnik jab were cooperating with Big Pharma entities such as Pfizer. He adds that there have been large numbers of safety signals indicating that Sputnik is not safe:
Data from other nations using Sputnik V suggests that while the drug is not the most dangerous COVID shot on the market, it’s still far from harmless.
A recent article that reviewed the adverse event tracking systems from Argentina, Mexico, Paraguay and the Philippines concluded that, in terms of the frequency of mild and severe side effects, Sputnik V is comparable to foreign vaccines.
Russians seem much more sceptical of the Covid jabs than in many other countries. The Our World in Data website indicates that as of April 23 2022 the Russian population is only 50% ‘fully vaccinated’. Furthermore take up rates were initially extremely slow. By May 2021, the amount of Russians that had taken at least one dose of a Corona ‘vaccine’ was only 9.52% of Russia’s population. (Compare this to high take-up in England for example where over half of the population had taken at least one jab by the end of May). A poll from Levada Center on ‘Vaccination’, printed on the 9th August 2021, showed a ‘vaccination’ rate for Russians of 24% in their sample. However, their polling over time shows a consistent 55% of the Russian population who have not taken the jabs and do not have any plans to take them (another 19% in this poll stated that they were planning on getting the injections).
In order to increase uptake among the population, the Russian government has used a wide range of strategies, many of which are coercive. In the above article on Russian jab take-up, the Mayor of Moscow, Sobyanin, complains that the measures taken to encourage Russians to get jabbed are failing:
What’s more, we are vaccinating in polyclinics, in shopping centres we are vaccinating, now in parks we are vaccinating, now even 1 thousand roubles will be paid to pensioners, in order that they can go shopping, only if they will be vaccinated – but there is no one.Sergei Sobyanin, Mayor of Moscow
In response to the weak take up, the government applied coercive pressure, forcing service sector workers to get jabbed. Moscow Times reports the following back in June 2021:
Moscow has rolled out one of the world’s most ambitious mandatory vaccination schemes, requiring 60% of all service sector workers — more than 2 million people — in the capital to be fully vaccinated within the next seven weeks. [..]
Several other Russian regions have followed suit and announced similar mandatory vaccination rules for service sector workers and civil servants.
Businesses in the service sector must ensure 60% of their customer-facing staff get vaccinated with one of the four coronavirus vaccines approved for use in Russia. At least 60% must have received a first dose by July 15, and the same proportion must be fully vaccinated by Aug. 15.Moscow Times
Furthermore, vaccine passports have been in operation in many Russian regions. The official St. Petersburg administration website gives an outline:
From November  a new system will be introduced for residents and guests of the city. This is because of the seasonal rise in the quantity of people made ill by coronavirus infection. What kind of documents will be present? QR Code on previous infection (period of use – 6 months), QR Code on Vaccination (period of use – 1 year), medical exemption (for those who cannot be vaccinated). It will be necessary for you to have your passport!
On top of coercion, the Russian government has been involved in demonisation of those who are sceptical of the jabs.
Using such measures, the Russian government has been able to increase uptake, with another more recent Levada Centre poll showing that now only 36% of Russians have no plans to take the jabs [as this number was consistently above 50% before the above coercive measures were applied, it is a reasonable extrapolation to assume some of the 55% in previous polls were coerced into the jabs].
A Spoke in the Pro-Russia Narrative
Some commentators on the current Ukraine issue have offered a more pro-Russian narrative, in line with what Putin offered himself as an explanation for his actions (combating NATO aggression and protecting the people of Donbass – see Part 2). Certainly, as previously examined, this pro-Russia narrative is much closer to the truth than the pro-Western narrative, which holds that Putin invaded Ukraine because he is a madman bent on bringing back the Soviet Union.
However, the fact that the Russian state is willing to impose things like lockdowns and ‘vaccine’ passports on its population, as well as promoting and distributing a clearly unsafe injection to millions of Russians means that the Russian state and Putin are not benign actors.
Part 4 (hopefully the final part) will discuss the interconnections between Covid and Ukraine.