Editor’s note: Slavsquat thinks the national vaccine pass is a sure thing, and I don’t disagree, but I think the feet-dragging on passing this law that Kremlin and UR clearly want and have invested in so much is notable. The initial plan was to have it speedily passed in December, instead the foreplay won’t end until at least February. Clearly Putin is queasy about it — not the law itself but what it may do to his ratings (internet 3D chess specialists may convince themselves that he has nothing to do with it but the Russians are not that foolish).
I suspect he is brainstorming for ways he can do another Teflon Putin move where he directs most of the fallout away from himself. Just like he did with the highly unpopular 2018 retirement law, where he — at the last moment — amended it to be oh so slightly less hawkish in a signature good cop, bad cop routine with the government, the latter obediently playing the latter.
What’s going on with the State Duma’s suicidal plan to push through national QR code legislation—perhaps the most unpopular proposed law in modern Russian history?
The vote was supposed to take place right around… now, with national-level cattle-tagging slated to begin in February. But there’s been a slight change of plans:
The bill on the introduction of QR codes in public places, most likely, will not be adopted until the beginning of February, a source in the State Duma told RBK.
Earlier, RIA Novosti and TASS wrote that the consideration of the second reading was postponed to February 1, citing sources in the lower house. They explained that the relevant by-laws had not yet been sent to the State Duma. […]
Currently, the QR code system is being introduced by regional authorities depending on the epidemiological situation.
What’s preventing this much-beloved legislative body from QR-stamping the entire country? The delay is at least partly due to the “the unwillingness of the population to accept this law,” according to Interfax. One Duma deputy even predicted the legislation could be shelved indefinitely. But there are also reports—denied by the Kremlin—that the State Duma might reintroduce amendments that would require QR codes for transportation. We’ll soon see.
By the way: Vladimir Putin, citing “moral reasons” and his “duties” as president, says he supports the introduction of a nationwide QR code system. He is confident these cattle tags—which will decimate freedom of movement and free commerce in Russia—can be implemented in a humane way to ensure the “safety and health of citizens that we care about so much.”
St. Petersburg siege update
Russia’s second-largest city ramped up its QR code regime on January 2. St. Petersburg “will not return to its former way of life,” according to governor Alexander Beglov, who really, really likes QR codes.
It’s a grim situation and unfortunately there’s no middle ground here—either the codes are tossed and abolished or St. Pete is toast.
Small businesses are pushing back against these economy-murdering “health” IDs, but is it enough?
Meanwhile, St. Pete residents—well, at least some of them—appear to be running out of patience with the city’s “health” measures:
In St. Petersburg , a family of several people beat a security officer for refusing to let them through without masks. The 14-year-old participant in the fight was later hospitalized with a concussion.
This is probably a bad omen:
Unfortunately, our operative on the ground says many people are voluntarily complying with the QR code requirement for shops—even in situations where businesses aren’t strictly enforcing the rule. Not good.
Crimea under the QR code yoke, again
Some developments in other Russian regions: The head of the Republic of Crimea, Sergey Aksyonov, announced today that cattle tags would be returning for certain businesses starting on Monday. Crimea was temporarily QR code-free during the New Year holiday—perhaps because it was recognized that these useless cattle tags were massacring the local economy. Anyway, they’re coming back. Did you miss them?
Are cattle tags being pushed by the federal government? Seems so.
Whether or not the national cattle tag law is passed, let’s just be very clear: Putin and his cabinet say they want QR codes.
Health Minister Mikhail Murashko recently suggested that the introduction of cattle tags is just part of Progress, like the invention of Ugg boots or the rollout of a new McDonald’s heart attack sandwich:
In the coming year, will we, as before, be able to gather in large groups, communicate? Will this happen or not?
Mikhail Murashko: Why not? It will happen.
And without a vaccination certificate?
Mikhail Murashko: Why are you confused by the vaccination certificate? Time dictates the rules of behavior. Once there were no passports, then they appeared.
Once there were no sick leaves. They appeared. Now they disappear. There will be only electronic …
Mikhail Murashko: Everything is changing. Clothing style, food style. Everything changes. And a person must be able to adapt.
Source: Edward Slavsquat