Aspects of Sobyanin’s compulsory vaccination drive that are especially galling are its temerity and the passing the buck aspect.
The vaccination rate in the city of Moscow is about 12%. That is to say that after advertising the vaccine to Muscovites as their mayor for a full six months Sobyanin has managed to convince just one in eight.
So now this same person who as the mayor failed with 88% despite a six-month campaign has turned around and is demanding of businesses to get three out of every five workers vaccinated within a month or else he will subject them to ruinous fines and closures.
I’m sorry?? What??
You couldn’t do it as their elected mayor in far more time (and faced no consequences for it) so now it’s up to people who merely trade money for labor with them to do far more, in a far shorter time. Or else you are going to ruin them.
That’s a level of gangsterism most people couldn’t even think up in their mind.
At the same time, the business owners haven’t even been handed the tools to be able to do the dirty work, even if they wanted to. There is contradictory information going around on whether employers can fire or suspend workers to meet the 60% vaccinated threshold.
Business representatives said it was incomprehensible they were being targeted without the city even issuing them with the means to easily sever employees who don’t go along. Instead of giving them such means, the city informed them that the present national legal order allegedly already allows them that, which is dubious in the extreme. In other words, all the risk is on the businesses.
It is a confused and mangled policy that even its authors do now know how it is supposed to work, or even if it will. This isn’t so much a return to Stalinist oppression as it marks the descent of Moscow into the Sobyanistan Banana Republic. It is an order borne out of embarrassment, weakness, impotence, and desperation. It is a Hail Mary and a bluff.
After presiding over very low vaccine uptakes for 6 months it is all of a sudden urgent to unleash war on the managers and bosses to get their people to a staggering 60% inside a month? Why? Well to save face, of course. This has nothing to do with the epidemic and people’s fates. This has everything to do with the government deciding the COVID outcome and vaccine uptake numbers are an embarrassment to it. The other reason is that Sobyanin’s COVID modus operandi has been to demonstrate his usefulness to Putin by trialing unpopular policies that may be then exported nationally without the need for Putin to initially get his hands dirty.
After 6 months without an answer, the best Sobyanin has been able to come up with has been to pass the buck further down the chain to businesses and managers and threaten them to accomplish far more than he has in far less time.
It is doubtful it will work. There won’t be a revolt, there won’t be protest. Instead, there will be something much more difficult to overcome — society-wide foot-dragging, shirking, avoiding, “cheating” and loopholing. Better gangsters than Sobyanin have tried to run the Russian people and failed.