Every Inch of Russia Is Still Under QR-Coded Occupation

COVID apologia for Putin that rapes reality and common decency has to stop

Putin decorates Gintsburg hours after the latter called for “a line to be drawn” to “sharply distinguish” between the vaccinated and the unvaccinated. I wonder what signal that sends?

Related: A constipated control freak is tormenting St. Petersburg

Apparently, QR codes are “dead in Russia”. Yeah really. Apparently, they only ever existed in Moscow and Tatarstan, so now that the national QR code legislation has been pulled the danger of nationwide QR-coded occupation has been averted:

The QR madness in Moscow/Tatarstan from St. Petersburg to Vladivostok would have been vastly more devastating than all of Washington’s sanctions packages combined. Perhaps it was a wise choice for a certain President to keep this a “States’ Rights” issue and repeatedly reaffirm that vaccination is a personal choice.

To test this alleged news I performed a simple experiment. I visited the central COVID information portal of the Russian government, StopKoronavirus.rf, which lists COVID-fighting measures of every region. Then I checked the COVID measures still on the books in Russia’s six most remote regions with the lowest population densities.

What did I learn? Every single one of these regions with a population density under 1 person per km2 still subjects its people to QR codes. Additionally, all except Chukotka have mandatory COVID vaccinations for workers in certain sectors (catering, hospitality, services, leisure, tourism, government…).

4 out of 6 regions also ban those over 60 (or over 55) from working, except remotely, or if they are vaccinated. (AKA it’s a work ban on the unvaccinated over 60s.) In 1 region there is also a blanket ban on offering those 65 and older any services. AKA you can’t give a 65-year old a haircut because the “authorities” feel he should be isolating 24/7 anyway. The same region also has mandatory vaccination for over 60s.

I didn’t check the regime in every of Russia’s 85 regions but if the 6 most remote ones all have QR codes (and 5 out of 6 have mandatory vaccinations) it is safe to say that nearly all do.

So it turns out that far from being dead QR codes in Russia are in fact omnipresent.

From left to right: Nenets, Yamalo-Nenets, Yakutia, Magadan, Chukotka, Kamchatka

Magadan (140,000 people on 460,000 km2 (larger than Germany) population density 0.3 per km2)::

  • “Mask-glove regime” and maks on public transport.
  • Catering establishments, shopping centers, service establishments (eg hair and beauty saloons), public events, and tourist accommodations only with a QR health pass (vax, negative PCR, or recent Covid illness)
  • No unaccompanied minors under 18 in catering establishments, shopping centers, public events, hair and beauty saloons, and tourist accommodations. (Ergo the unvaxxed can’t send their teen to pick something from the mall from them, and children of unvaxxed parents can’t get a haircut.)
  • Curfew for bars, restaurants and events
  • Over 60s may only work from home.
  • Mandatory vaccination for employees in certain sectors.

Kamchatka Krai (315,000 people on 470,000 km2 (larger than Germany) population density 0.7 per km2):

  • “Mask-glove regime” and maks on public transport.
  • Hotel room only with a certificate of vaccination.
  • Catering establishments and government offices only with a QR health pass.
  • No unaccompanied minors under 18 in shopping centers.
  • No events over 100 people. 50% capacity limit for events under 100.
  • No entertainment at night.
  • Hair and beauty saloons only by appointment.
  • Over 60s may only work from home.
  • Mandatory vaccination for employees in certain sectors.

Chukotka Autonomous District (50,000 people on 700,000 km2 (larger than Ukraine or Texas), population density 0.07 per km2):

  • “Mask-glove regime” and maks on public transport.
  • Events only with a QR health pass, regulators must be notified a week ahead. 70% capacity limit for establishments.
  • Arrivals from outside the region only with a QR health pass, or will be subject to antigen test.

Yakutia (Republic of Sakha) (900,000 people on 3,000,000 km2 (slightly smaller than India), population density 0.3 per km2):

  • “Mask-glove regime” and maks on public transport.
  • All mass events and gatherings are prohibited.
  • Banquet services for more than 10 people are prohibited.
  • Government offices, catering establishments, cultural and leisure institutions, shopping centers, service establishments, tourism and recreation centers only with a QR health pass.
  • 1AM curfew on catering establishments.
  • Capacity limits of 50% or 100 people.
  • Children in remote learning and preschoolers are forbidden to visit children’s centers and playrooms
  • Sports events without spectators.
  • Over 60s may only work from home.
  • Mandatory vaccination for employees in certain sectors.

Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous District (550,000 people on 770,000 km2 (larger than Ukraine or Texas), population density 0.7 per km2):

  • “Mask-glove regime” and maks on public transport.
  • Catering establishments, shopping centers, service establishments, hotels, events, institutions of culture, leisure and sports only with a QR health pass.
  • Mandatory vaccination for employees in certain sectors.

Nenets Autonomous District (40,000 people on 170,000 km2 (larger than Greece), population density 0.25 per km2):

  • “Mask-glove regime” and maks on public transport.
  • Catering establishments, service establishments, hotels, events only with a QR health pass.
  • Mass events banned, occupancy limits on service establishments and cultural institutions.
  • Ban on services to persons 65 years and older. (Aka lockdown of the 65 and over.)
  • No personal reception of citizens in offices of the authorities.
  • Checkpoints on the border, arrivals without a QR code are written down for 14-day self-isolation.
  • The unvaccinated over 55 can’t work except from home.
  • Mandatory vaccination for employees in certain sectors, persons over 60, persons with chronic diseases, and persons living in social service organizations.

The alleged “news” continues:

“There is now a major nation that has essentially given up on anti-Covid measures. It is also a global player with some significant media and internet presence that can advertise this fact.”

What is this utter trash and nonsense? Russia has given up nothing. An attempted escalation of COVID derangement by backing the QR codes with national legislation has been given up. However, in every other way, Moscow’s COVID derangement war continues unabated.

There won’t be legitimization for the already existing regime by a vote in the national parliament. But as a de facto reality nationwide QR code requirements already exist, courtesy of gubernatorial regional decrees.

“The problem is that to understand today’s Russia you simply cannot think of the state as a monolithic block. There is no Putin dictatorship under a crushing cult of personality with all roads to power leading to an often shirtless God-Emperor. Russia is not the Borg Cube.”

“There has been a massive unseen war going on behind the walls of government..”

This is beyond idiotic and just plain false. Putin is not an absolute ruler in relation to his citizens, but within the Russian state apparatus he is the Alpha and Omega. That doesn’t mean that every single initiative comes from him but he does have the standing, the influence, and the power to crush every single one of them, and to dictate policy direction on anything he gets involved in. The idea that Putin can’t clap his fingers tomorrow and have every single COVID measure dropped within a week is a filthy lie — just as it is a filthy lie that he has been seriously advocating for vaccines as a “personal choice”.

There is no “unseen war behind the walls of government”. A more cowed, vapid, empty, cowardly, and downright sycophantic state-political apparatus than the one in Russia could scarcely be imagined. It is so cowed even the leadership (unlike the rank-and-file) of the two major opposition parties are Putin toadies eager to win his favor and do his work for him (including by backstabbing and sidelining true oppositionists from their organizations).

Entire United Russia (who are detested nobodies) and all the regional governors (who are detested nobodies) hinge on his every signal and word, trying to figure out how to best please him or at least not stand out and keep him appeased. The reason the regional governors have gone insane with COVID war derangement is that that has been precisely the signal from the center. For six months now his very own spokesman has been calling the unvaxxed “dangerous”, “irresponsible”, and “idiots”. Is this “unseen war” so fierce that Putin isn’t able to control the words of his own spokesman? Is that really the suggestion here? That Putin is so weak that he can’t help it if his own spokesman is declaring open season on the unvaxxed?

Putin is on the record as backing nation-wide regionally-decreed mandatory vaccination as lawful, prudent and unproblematic:

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.

Of course, he would have the back of regional compulsory vaccinations since they went up after he sent a signal from the center that they should. When mandatory vax went up in Moscow (as a Sobyanin initiative) the eyes of all regional governors were directed at the Kremlin to see what the response would be. Would there be a rebuke, or praise and encouragement? There was the latter. In days and weeks to come all other regions followed suit. That signals were coming largely from Peskov rather from Putin told the governors one thing and one thing only: Putin can’t be too forthright on this one so he will be even more appreciative if you get the message anyway, and get your hands dirty so that he doesn’t have to.

Of course, with time the Kremlin became very, very forthright, with Peskov firing off incendiary nonsense that would make Fauci blush, and that would cause a revolution in the US if uttered by Jen Psaki. (Apparently, it’s not really mandatory vaccination because you can always get another job.) Eventually, Putin’s mouthpiece sent the signal of all signals: there is no such thing as a measure that “encourages” vaccine uptake that is a bad measure:

“All measures are good. Any measures that can encourage more people to get vaccinated are good. And only vaccination saves you from death.”

Translated: in getting jabs into arms you can’t possibly go too far. The only political error possible is on the side of reluctance and moderation.

It’s not just Peskov. When Putin’s mouthpiece says something like this numerous other favor-seeking sycophants like Zhirinovsky, Kiselyov, and Simonyan receive and decode the signal that it is their job (if they want continued favor) to amplify that message and to shift the Overton window further to the right, and to go into territory that the Kremlin can not. This is exactly what we have been seeing on vaccines and QR codes in Russia the whole year. It has been an establishment and state-propaganda lockstep. One that would be impossible if Putin, of all people, was opposed to the COVID derangement regime.

When are you going to resign yourself to the fact that Putin isn’t on your side? He is a COVID normie and a chronic middle-of-the-roader. He is nothing like you. He is a Russian liberal statist who spent 15 years attending the G8, and 30 years attending Davos. He is not your ideological or culture-war fellow traveler. Every aspect of his policies where he differs from the West or is opposed to the West is a consequence, not of him being Vladimir Putin, but of him being the leader of Russia. More than anything his anti-Western or independent-of-the-West course was forced onto him by his failure to integrate Russia with the West (“Europe from Lisbon to Vladivostok”) on non-humiliating terms. A project he had expended far more energies on than the average Russian would have.

Stop projecting your personality and your worldview on Putin. He is just a normie. Except he is the normie in charge of Russia and that is eventually going to exert a certain amount of influence. Both from below, and even more so from outside, from being shunned and besieged by the West.

If you want a Russian that is like you look up Dr. Alexander Redko. It is utterly bizarre that dissident personalities in the West are identifying with the Russian President rather than people fighting their same fight in Russia, including against COVID Vladimir.

Yes, the weight of COVID derangement in Russia is made lighter by lax enforcement. The latter is how the middle management (the regions) squares the circle. They commit Draconian measures to paper to signal loyalty and impress the Kremlin, but skimp on execution so as to not cause catastrophic unrest or bankrupt themselves. But this fraud perpetrated against the center (which has been a feature of Russia even before the Soviet era) tells you precisely that the Kremlin is on the side of the Draconian measures, not on the side of the lax enforcement.

To talk of “states rights” in the Russian context where until recently governors were appointed, and where virtually all are from United Russia is bizarre. If Russia was an actual “states rights” system then among the 85 federal subjects of wildly different sizes, ethnic mixes, and local circumstances, and all populated by very red-pilled people you would expect to find at least a few anti-derangement Ron DeSantises and Kristi Noems. You don’t because Russia isn’t a real federation.* For one thing, there are no primaries. Who runs (and wins) is at the sole discretion of United Russia.

The autonomy of regions extends only to execution. They may do like Chukotka and decree some rather meaningless and symbolic QR requirements just to show they too were taking COVID “seriously” and to not stand out and single themselves out for repercussions. (QR codes for “events” for a frozen region of 50,000 people is a delicious joke. What events could they possibly have? And who actually believes anyone will be turned back if they do?) Or they can do like the Nenets governor who seems to want to get on the center’s radar as an especially zealous and dutiful executioner of the party line, a true Sobyanin of the north. (Wonder what promotion he’s angling for?)


*Communists didn’t style Russia a “federation” because its regions were to have “state’s rights”. They styled it a federation because it included many Autonomous Republics populated by non-Russian peoples. However, its Russian-populated regions were not thought to have any “state’s rights”. They are no more than French departments. To think of Russian regions as equivalents to American (or Brazilian) states is wrong. It’s not a federation of its 85 regions. It’s a union of the autonomous ethnic regions federated to the entirety of the Russian area as a whole.

  1. drb says

    Excellent article and it is 100% the truth. I spoke with a friend in Samara today and we touched on the existing state of affairs. Her mother does not challenge autorithies and is very bored since she can not go anywhere. My friend uses the code of a friend and she can go to the mall.

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    2. almost_enlightened says

      I have friends in Russia not Samara) and they say nobody bothers with QR codes, they are just there.

  2. Ilya G Poimandres says

    I get it, but I don’t give Putin shit for being less statist than people want.

    He’s leaving soon enough, and the regions of the federation need to know how to rule themselves.

    They show failure. I agree he likely doesn’t see it, being someone who grew up in a statist Soviet Union, but I don’t disagree with the path.

    The question for me is, when the narrative fully ruptures, how does he deal with the idiots.

    That makes him or breaks him, for me, as a leader worth remembering in history. (Well, he’s still worth remembering for his careful actions against NATO etc)

    1. Edward Slavsquat says

      The issue here isn’t that Putin is a normie. One could even argue he’s better than many other world leaders re: COVID Sharia. It’s a pretty low bar, of course.

      The problem is that people project their hopes and dreams on this guy and then pretend it’s reality.

      Putin openly supported the national QR code law; it was shelved despite his best efforts. There’s this meme that Putin is working in the shadows trying to stop COVID tyranny in Russia — where is the evidence of this? Those who truly believe Putin is on the right side of this scam need to articulate their position with facts and stop with the Kremlin fan fiction. If there’s a case, let’s hear it. Simply stating that it’s true means nothing. As far as I’m concerned, there is strong evidence that he is collaborating with the virus junta.

      1. Dale says

        My “uh-oh” moment, on Putin, came over a year ago when he said something like “Everybody’s a Covid dissident … until he gets it.”

      2. Ilya G Poimandres says

        Nah, I just see him as my grandparents who grew up post WWII in Moscow.

        Classically happy with Statism, maybe they quote a Kropotkin thing once in a while, but mostly if the state asks, they commit.

        My grandpa – an engineer and lecturer – does not ask for the validation of the mask law – he just wears one when he goes outside. “The state asked, that is enough”, to him. Any scientific study or debate, is an excuse… Which makes me pretty mad cause I like my science!

        I think that’s the mode of thinking for the older folks who lived through the Soviet Union for a long time.

        It’d be interesting to see anti-covid-vaxx polling data according to age, to test my hypothesis!

        1. Edward Slavsquat says

          ya just to be clear, I’m not accused *you* of anything I wrote above. Seems like you have a far more grounded view of things.

          I’m just sayin’ that it seems way, way, way, way too many people are doing this whole routine where they imagine Putin is their scamdemic guardian angel.

          Guys, he’s not. He just isn’t.

          1. Ilya G Poimandres says

            I’ve definitely lost a big bunch of respect for him because of this thing.

            I wonder to what extent the Chinese and Russian response is modulated by the possibility covid was a Fort Detrick gain of function thing. Still, even if it was a US error/attack on the world, I would hope that a leader would react to the attacker, not on their population.

            It’s gonna be interesting to see what Russia does as the narrative collapses now.

      3. Sam says

        I’ve come to some really uncomfortable realisations regarding Russia and Putin during this pandemic. I completely naively thought for a good year that he was only doing some relatively small part take in the madness(initially the covid passport was only in Moscow and nowhere else) then when i saw all his collaborators are in Davos and the extent of covid passport use throughout different oblasts…Putin is one of them. Key difference is that Russians arent Australians or Austrians for that matter. I genuinely believe if this shit goes on Putin will forcefully come to his senses. Apparently the QR passes are meant to be withdrawn in June? We’ll see if that happens.
        Another top article Edward,particularly for people who haven’t got a clear image of Putin.
        Being Serb,I often have misplaced view of Putin and very easily disregard his faults.

        1. cargo cultist says

          Key difference is that Russians arent Australians or Austrians for that matter.”

          Sounds like you have another uncomfortable realization ahead of you.

          1. Sam says


  3. Eric the Red says

    I believe each of us must come to a kind of existential decision. Either we can assume that governments and their respective leaders are still acting within the normal range of laws and power relations, or we can jump the shark and awaken to a more awful conclusion, in which the old forms have been overturned, and there is some kind of god-awful new power above everything that has taken control.

    This new power has the ability to put the fear of life-and-death-and-unimaginable-pain into the hearts of world leaders, including Putin. We can only speculate how they’re able to do this. As a fan of traditional science fiction, I could come up with some scenarios, but to describe them here would seem laughable and only weaken my case. Whatever it may be, I believe it exists. In Russia, Putin is being similarly controlled. Simultaneously, the oligarchs who Putin battled out of power from 1993 have come roaring back, because they’re supported by the new power. It’s kind of a rerun of that former post-USSR political struggle, but this time Putin is losing.

    Draw your own conclusions, I guess. As for me, I find I no longer have the energy or motivation to comment any more. I’m not sure why I decided to comment here. It’s obvious to me, that reading articles and sharing opinions is now useless. I no longer find any comfort in like-minded individuals. Basic assumptions about how the world operates are changed beyond both my comprehension, as well as beyond that of anyone of any political persuasion and media source. Everything I see and read now seems hollow. It’s all a sad attempt to describe things that are now gone, but nobody quite realizes it yet. I don’t think anyone has any idea what’s really happening, or who is really in control. If somewhere someone does know, they’re not telling anyone else.

    1. Edward Slavsquat says

      This is an excellent comment.

  4. George says

    Trump, and all “good” leaders are supporting the killer jabs.

  5. almost_enlightened says

    QR codes are there but do they change anything? We have them in Kazakhstan but nobody bothers with them.

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