Russia has 85 regions. 84 of them have made Covid vaccination compulsory for one group of citizens or another. (All but Ingushetia.)
Another way to say this is that across all of Russia Covid vaccination has been made compulsory — albeit not for everyone.
Another way to say this is that Putin is presiding over a Vaccine Taliban regime that has made vaccination compulsory for tens of millions of Russians.
Asked at Valdai what’s up with that, Putin proceeded to explain how Covid vaccination in Russia isn’t really compulsory, then he explained Covid vaccination in Russia actually really is compulsory, and ended by explaining he doesn’t actually really support compulsory vaccination.
So then a totally clear, direct, straight answer from someone who is taking full ownership of the mass campaign of state coercion that he is presiding over.
Putin opened by saying Covid vaccination supposedly isn’t actually compulsory because it is not found in the national vaccination schedule:
“I have already said that vaccination becomes mandatory in our country if it is included in the national calendar, but vaccination against coronavirus infection has not been included in the national calendar, therefore, in this sense, it is not mandatory,” Putin said
And he finished by saying he “doesn’t support compulsion” because people will find a way around it and but fake certificates (talk about the lamest possible reason to “oppose” coercion):
“This is happening here. But it’s not a matter of obligation, I really don’t support obligation. That is why, because any imposed decision can be bypassed. Well, they will buy certificates,” Putin said.
But in between these two, he sandwiched the statement that authorities have indeed made Covid vaccination compulsory as they (supposedly) have every right to:
At the same time, he recalled that, in accordance with the current law, regional authorities have the right to introduce compulsory vaccination in connection with the growth of the epidemic, on the recommendations of chief doctors in relation to certain categories of citizens.
Clearly the meat and bone of the answer is the middle part. Why even bother coating it with the utter drivel of him somehow not being in favor of policy he presides over?
But this sandwiching did allow the pliant regime media to headline the story as Putin supposedly somehow not supporting his own policies:
This led to the absurd situation where the top headline on Yandex had Putin opposing compulsory vaccines, and the second top headline had him backing them:
Efforts of the Putin-media tag team to muddy the waters aside, the Russians are not stupid. There is no way that they are going to conclude that Putin is actually opposed to coerced vaccines at the same time as tens of millions of them are being extorted to inject themselves to keep a job, board a bus, enter a restaurant, or leave their apartment building.
So again, why is Putin bothering with these pathetic and intelligence-insulting attempts to put distance between himself and the Maoist campaign of mass coerced injections that he has unleashed?
A hint might be found in the fact the campaign wasn’t ramped up fully until after the parliamentary election — for the reason that in a country where only 35 percent took the vaccine voluntarily a campaign to force the supermajority to follow suit was not going to be popular. (Which is why the government is resorting to the salami tactics of first targeting select groups only, rather than going for everyone at once.)
The other reason for embarrassment is that along with his reversal on the possibility of seeking a 5th term, his turnaround on forced vax represents the biggest U-turn and assurance-breaking of his 20 years in charge.
You will recall that throughout 2020 Putin was assuring the Russian people that they had a president who was opposed to compulsory and coerced vaccinations and that they thus had nothing of the sort to fear.
In reality, he now presides over a campaign of extortion to vaccinate that is every bit as force-backed as he can get away with without causing a general uprising. To the extent that Russia’s forced vax campaign is less ambitious (eg targeting only certain professions and age groups) than in some other jurisdictions, it is only because Russians are more violently opposed to untried, emergency injections for a non-emergency than most Europeans and so their government can’t quite get away with as much.
That doesn’t mean however that Kremlin’s forced vax campaign is particularly mild, however. Even someone like the middle-of-the-road loser and worthless wind-bending garbage that is Greg Abbott in Texas has so far shunned Maoist forced vax campaigns, as have the formerly lockdown Norway and Denmark, but Putin remains a virus fascist.
In the Rus’ world, the only refuge from virus Maoism remains free Belarus. Aside from assuring freedom for 10 million East Slavs, it serves a valuable role in continuously falsifying baseless cult dogma about how failing to run Khmer Rouge-style campaigns of mass home incarceration or mass forced vaccination results in “overwhelmed hospitals”.
*Since then Ingushetia has followed suit so now every single Russian region has a compulsory Covid vaccination scheme of one sort or another (that’s on top of vaccine passports).