Myth vs. Reality in COVID Russia

If the Kremlin is your girlfriend we're happy for you, but don't tell us how awesome she is on COVID

Internet Russia (left) is slightly different from Actual Russia (right)

“Sputnik V is safe!”; “Putin is just ‘playing along’ with the COVID narrative until the petrodollar collapses!”; “Russia is the last bastion of freedom!”…

Alternative media has created an alternative reality about Russia. The Kremlin has embraced all the same soul-raping “public health measures” currently terrorizing the Western world—and people are either in denial or making excuses:

“There is no compulsory vaccination in Russia!”

All 85 federal subjects of the Russian Federation now have vaccine mandates, as well as rules requiring digital “health” certificates for entry to certain businesses, venues, and public institutions. Many regions are denying routine medical care to those without QR codes.

At the federal level, the Kremlin has voiced support for “any measures” that “encourage” Russians to get jabbed—while insisting vaccination remains completely voluntary.

A sample of regional flavors of “voluntary” vaccination in Russia:

  • In the Novgorod region, children whose parents have not been vaccinated are banned from afterschool clubs and other extracurricular activities.
  • Digital vaccine passports will be required to use public transport in Tatarstan. The new regulation applies to all residents over the age of 18 without a medical exemption.
  • In St. Petersburg, a negative PCR test cannot be used to obtain a QR code. This means theaters, museums and restaurants in Russia’s second-largest city are reserved exclusively for the vaccinated and those with proof of prior infection.
  • Muscovites over the age of 60 have been ordered to self-isolate until the end of February. Those who have been vaccinated or have proof of prior infection are exempt from the rule.

Probably you read somewhere that Vladimir Putin outlawed compulsory vaccination as part of his master plan to destroy the fractional reserve banking system and bring peace and harmony to the world. Someone lied to you. Sorry about that.

“…But Sputnik V is safe!”

Does the Kremlin have access to a time-bending wormhole? Because we keep reading boastful claims about the non-existent results of Sputnik V’s “long-term” (ha-ha) safety and efficacy trials—which are scheduled to end on December 31, 2022.

Like other COVID vaccines, Sputnik V has zoomed through clinical trials, with an “interim” report consisting of six months’ worth of data used as proof of its unassailable long-term safety and efficacy. It didn’t help that this already limited dataset was plagued by controversy (as well as an alarming lack of transparency).

Phase III vaccine trials typically require at least five years of careful observation. For example, the long-term safety study for J&J’s Ebola vaccine—which uses the same Ad26 viral vector platform as Sputnik V—began in 2016 and won’t end until 2023.

Sputnik V: zooming past all the unnecessary red tape

Alexander Redko, chairman of the St. Petersburg Professional Association of Medical Workers, noted in July that declaring Sputnik V “safe” without even waiting for ludicrous-speed clinical trials to end is about as scientific as reading tarot cards. Is he wrong? The Russian government clearly thinks so.

In December 2020, Russia’s health ministry announced it was prematurely ending enrollment for Sputnik V trials, arguing that it would be unethical to administer placebo shots when a proven, life-saving vaccine was already available to the public.

“Everything has now been proven, while the pandemic is ongoing,” Alexander Gintsburg, director of the Gamaleya Center—which developed Sputnik V—explained, just four months after Phase III trials had begun.

The Science was settled in four months?

Science-deniers claim it’s irresponsible to coerce tens of millions of people to get injected with an untested drug, but what these conspiracy theorists don’t understand is that any long-term issues would have become apparent within four months.

Furthermore, Russia has a robust and transparent system in place for flagging side effects.

The Russian government does not have a VAERS-like database for reporting and monitoring suspected adverse reactions, and doctors who question the vaccine’s safety or efficacy are being threatened with exorbitant fines and prison time.

“The fact is that nothing is registered in Russia at all. Therefore, it is very difficult to understand how many serious complications there are. There are many cases, and we can say that they are related to the vaccine. There is a lot to say. Or you can stick your head in the sand and say that there is nothing at all,” Pavel Vorobyov, Chairman of the Moscow Scientific Society of Physicians, said in a recent interview, making him an anti-science hate speech criminal in the eyes of the Russian government.

Argentina’s health ministry is similarly guilty of High Crimes Against Sputnik V. In October, the South American state revealed that Russia’s flagship vaccine was the nation’s leader when it came to causing adverse reactions, beating Sinopharm and AstraZeneca by significant margins (the full report can be read here):

Why does Argentina hate science?

There are even thought crimes being carried out by Russia’s elected representatives. Duma Deputy Mikhail Delyagin argued in an August op-ed that the government’s own data suggested that mass compulsory vaccination had no clear neutralizing effect and was making things worse.

For months, the Russian government maintained it was basically impossible to be hospitalized with COVID if you were fully vaccinated. When it became obvious that this was a slight exaggeration, Gamaleya’s director claimed 80% of jabbed Russians falling ill with the virus had purchased fake certificates and were lying about their vaccination status. Gintsburg’s tall tale inspired some colorful commentary in Russian media. As one outlet opined:

At first they said that it was enough to get vaccinated once every two years so as not to get sick at all, then once a year, then once every six months. Now it turns out that vaccination does not even really protect against getting into intensive care or death.

And what is the solution? True, the Minister of Health, Mr. Murashko, still claims that there are no deaths among citizens who have received the vaccine. But people do not live on Mars, they, alas, face these deaths of the vaccinated in life … And then the PR naturally stops working.

It’s doubtful if the PR ever worked. Last month, Deputy Speaker of the State Duma Pyotr Tolstoy conceded that the government had completely failed to convince the public that Sputnik V was safe and effective.

“There are few answers to the questions why those who are vaccinated are ill, why those who are vaccinated die, why there are problems and complications after the vaccinations themselves,” the high-ranking lawmaker said.

The total lack of transparency has spurred the creation of informal databases and Telegram channels where adverse events can be tracked. Instead of stepping up efforts to address safety concerns, the Russian government has compared concerned citizens to terrorists.

The Kremlin and its credulous cheerleaders maintain there’s no need to worry about long-term safety because Sputnik V is based on the Gamaleya Center’s proven, time-tested viral vector-based delivery platform. For example, Kirill Dmitriev, the Harvard-educated ex-Goldman Sachs banker who heads the Russian Direct Investment Fund (which provides financing for Sputnik V), claimed in an op-ed published by RT:

Russia has benefitted from modifying for COVID-19 an existing two-vector vaccine platform developed in 2015 for Ebola fever, which went through all phases of clinical trials and was used to help defeat the Ebola epidemic in Africa in 2017.

But on Sputnik V’s website, we learn:

About 2,000 people in Guinea received injections of Ebola vaccine in 2017-18 as part of Phase 3 clinical trial.

Is Dmitriev really suggesting that a Phase III trial held in 2017-18 helped Guinea defeat Ebola? That’s quite a brave claim, considering Guinea was declared Ebola-free in June 2016 following an outbreak two years earlier. By the time Gamaleya’s magic Ebola slurry arrived in Guinea (as part of a clinical trial), there was no Ebola left to fight. In February of this year, Guinea reported its first Ebola death since 2016. Can Dmitriev or RT offer some clarification here? Send your questions to RT’s famously fearless and objective Russia Desk.

By the way: why would Dmitriev (and Sputnik V’s own website) brag about injecting 2,000 Africans as part of a clinical trial held a year after Guinea was declared Ebola-free? Well, because that’s basically Gamaleya’s greatest triumph—before inventing Sputnik V in record-time.

Alexander Gintsburg, widely credited with ending Guinea’s horrific 2017 Ebola epidemic

Sputnik V is the Gamaleya Center’s first “viral vector-based” vaccine to receive emergency use authorization outside of Russia. Gintsburg—who has been the director of Gamaleya since 1997—has yet to bring a fully approved vaccine to market, despite multiple attempts.

In fact, Gintsburg’s first vector adenovirus vaccine, AdeVac-Flu, resulted in a multimillion-dollar embezzlement scandal.

“[Gamaleya’s] scientists have ‘copy-pasted’ [Sputnik V] from their previous, not accepted by the scientific community, research. In their genetic memory—a criminal case, WHO skepticism and zero drugs introduced into the market,” read the teaser of an investigation published by in July 2020.

With such an impressive track record, it’s hardly surprising that the Gamaleya Center refers to itself as “the world’s leading research institution.” The Center also has world-leading facilities. Seriously, feast your eyes upon these cutting-edge facilities:

Gamaleya’s world-famous viral vector-based roof shrub (L); a Gamaleya hallway where people are regularly murdered (R)

A lot of Russians are also very impressed by the fact that Sputnik V’s #1 fan (and one of the drug’s original investors) is a friendly banker who is trying to introduce a QR code-based payment system in Russia, and is also developing a digital currency in partnership with JP Morgan.

When your favorite WordPress geopolitical analyst exclaims “Sputnik V is safe!” the appropriate response is: how could you possibly know, and why does the Russian government not want to know?

“…But the Russian government would never deceive its own people!”

In June, the emergence of a highly deadly “Moscow strain”—later deemed a “hypothetical phenomenon”—forced authorities to introduce Russia’s first vaccine mandate in the capital. Other regions followed suit. Yes, the people grumbled—but COVID “cases” immediately began to plummet! COVID “deaths” plateaued! It was a true miracle.

The Duma election was a super-spreader event or something?
The Duma election was a super-spreader event or something? 

Then something really strange happened: the amazingly effective (but highly unpopular) coercive COVID policies suddenly stopped working immediately after Duma elections in late September.

What a weird coincidence. Obviously, the ruling United Russia party—which had just secured parliament for another five years after an unexpectedly decisive electoral victory—was forced to impose even more coercive COVID policies. If Russians don’t like it, they can express their dissatisfaction at the polls, in 2026.

Russia’s descent into compulsory vaccination is a case study in industrial-scale lying and government duplicity. It’s a very interesting story.


In January, Russia’s president presented a keynote address at the World Economic Forum—his first speech before the esteemed international body since 2009.

Beginning his address with a very friendly and intimate “dear Klaus,” Putin recalled how he first met Mr. Schwab in 1992 and since then had regularly attended events organized by the Fourth Industrial Revolution visionary.

Putin and Schwab -- old friends
Putin and Schwab — old friends

Putin used this very important speech to call for “expanding the scale of testing and vaccinations” around the world, describing COVID as an existential threat that required close international cooperation. The entire global economy will need to be rebuilt from the ground up by central banks, because the virus is just so deadly and destructive:

[T]he key question today is how to build a program of actions in order to not only quickly restore the global and national economies affected by the pandemic, but to ensure that this recovery is sustainable in the long run, relies on a high-quality structure and helps overcome the burden of social imbalances. Clearly, with the above restrictions and macroeconomic policy in mind, economic growth will largely rely on fiscal incentives with state budgets and central banks playing the key role.

Is that how you say “Build Back Better” in Russian?

We’re all trapped in the same oligarch-controlled panpoopticon. Maybe it’s time to accept that, instead of pretending that some jailers are more “based” than others?

Crazy times. Good luck to all,



Riley Waggaman, aka Edward Slavsquat, is your humble Moscow correspondent. He worked for RT, Press TV, Russia Insider, yadda yadda. In his youth, he attended a White House lawn party where he asked Barack Obama if imprisoned whistleblower Bradley Manning (Chelsea was still a boy back then) “had a good Easter.” Good times good times.

  1. GMC says

    All I can say is what I see – I ve been in and out Crimea and Smolensk since 2008. I own a flat, a car, a wife, a couple stray cats and have spoken english with one other Amerikanska in th pst 6 years and it was a 5 minute conversation lol. I had the corona virus ( verified by the hospital doctor who came to my flat and checked me out in 2020). 10 mos. later I took Sputnik Lite cause I wanted to possibly boost my immune system and can honestly feel a big physical boost. 4 other friends who have taken Sput. V or Lite, feel the same boost.
    In the past 5 months I ve personally known 3 people that have “presumately” died from ” corona virus” and they were not vaxxed. They were all 10 to 25 yrs my younger – Im 71. When I caught the virus, I didn t hear of anyone I knew or my friends knew that caught the virus, during this time, other than a few very old pensioners. Now, tho its rampant.!
    So, here is where this article kicks in – Why did Crimea go from 30 people a day getting the virus in 2020 to 700 just yesterday? Is it the Russia Gov. killing these folks because of a globalist directive or do those 12 BioWeapons labs in Ukraine have something to do with it.?? Either way the Military needs to step up and save their people and families from thid B S. Spacibo A E.

    1. Leisure Larry says

      Military in U.S. ain’t gonna do nothing.
      They let the Jews get away with 9/11 and that’s why we’re in this mess. Jewish fingerprints are all over Covid.

      Only Michael Collins, civil disobedience and Jewish lack of self awareness can save us now.

    2. ken says

      I constantly read about someone catching the rona. Then say it was verified by a doctor and a PCR test. Let’s break this down.

      How does a doctor ‘know’ its the rona. Because the health ‘authorities’ have a list of symptoms… here in the states that health ‘authority’ is the CDC. These symptom are identical to most respiratory diseases like the flu or the common cold. (a corona virus)

      Here if a doctor diagnoses the rona the hospital would receive a government gift of $77,000 dollars, (5,482,756.50 rubles) per admission. Not a bad bribe! Also the hospitals here receive over $3000 dollars, (214,003.50 rubles) for 1 weer of remdesiviv and another $37,000 dollars (2,710,639.67 rubles) for shoving a pipe down the throat of the victim all for 1 rona admission to the hospital… total $117,000 dollars. (8,346,136.50 rubles).

      Most died from hospital pneumonia because of negligence and improper care from an bogus diagnosis. Tens of thousands elderly literally died from lack of food and water.

      Not bad. Now multiply that by thousands! I am not saying Russia is the same but surely some kind of bribe is ongoing. That is the way these people work.

      The problem with people coming down with the rona is the FACT that the virus does not exist. The genome sequence they use was computer generated or in CDC speak ‘insilico’

      The test they used could not differentiate between the supposed rona or the flu nor could it determine if the virus was replicating. This is from the inventor of the test Kary Mullis. The CDC is coming up with some other BS test and as of December 31 2021 the present PCR is no longer valid for test. But look around! Even though the CDC admitted the test was a fraud,,, it is still being used to ‘verify’ the rona!

      It would seem to me a invalid test in August would also be invalid in Sept, Oct. Nov, and December yet the CDC says to continue using it.

      So far,,, all fraud.

      The kicker is the fact they said the flu disappeared from the planet last year and the common cold was diminished. These cases and others like pneumonia were used to bump up the numbers. Now,,, all of a sudden,,, we have to worry about the ‘super flu’!

      I have no doubt people were sick,,, just not the rona.

      I am not saying this is the same in Russia but if the virus doesn’t exist here in the states then it probably does not exist anywhere else.

      I grew up trusting the MD’s. The last 2 years have completely destroyed that trust. These ‘doctors’ know the masks don’t work,,, they know people are being injured and dying from the jab yet for a few dollars they will deny this and kill you.

      1. GMC says

        I m in Russia, so how do you know what viruses are coming out of Ukraine, Georgia or Kazhkstan. This ain t my first rodeo nor virus. You keep spouting the same thing over and over, but never detail what is happening in that nice Florida region you are in. People are dying here and it s not a joke or a coincidece. I ve said three times in my comments that my Doc doesn t use a pcr test, he knows a virus when he sees it and he defi itly knows this one is different. You are sounding like a broken record.

  2. Mark says

    “Science-deniers claim it’s irresponsible to coerce tens of millions of people to get injected with an untested drug, but what these conspiracy theorists don’t understand is that any long-term issues would have become apparent within four months.”

    That’s actually a pretty common claim by the ignorant everywhere, not just in Russia, and I have read scornful comments from know-nothings insisting that side effects always show up within 6 to 8 weeks. I guess that’s an argument that clinical trials could be done in no time at all; badda-bing, badda-boom, here’s your miracle serum.

    That so? Remember thalidomide? When did those side effects show up? When babies were born with flippers instead of arms, months later. Because it was not adequately tested on fetal tissue, which is characteristically fast-growing. Our own Doktor Bonnie, the public-health quack, chortles in the press about what a great thing pregnant women are doing for their fetus by getting vaccinated; does anyone really know what the outcome will be? Pfizer and Moderna certainly don’t care, because they are protected from lawsuits. You know – vexatious lawsuits curb pharmaceutical researchers’ sense of adventure, and might be detrimental to their developing even more miracles using the wonders of messenger RNA.

    That’s why we in Canada have the new compensation system for those who suffer lifetime injuries or die from adverse effects of the Covid vaccines. Because we mustn’t blame the nice drug companies, who are only interested in our health.

  3. Kieran says

    COVID is a fraud perpetuated on the people by Anthony Fauci, Dr. Tedros Ghebreyesus, Bill Gates. it is not a pandemic as shown by Mr. Yogi Adityanath, Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, India this state has a population of 260 million and wiped out COVID with ivermectin kits costing less than $5.

    an Indian blogger says none of the vaccines work and all vaccinated globally should be dosed with ivermectin to stop new variants and mutations of the virus by vaccinated people themselves

  4. FedUpWithBS says

    While the MSM condemns the use of ivermectin, the most populated state in India just declared they are officially COVID free after promoting widespread use of the safe, proven medicine. In addition to this, Ivermectin attaches to covid spikes and prevents them from binding to ACE2. Get your Ivermectin

  5. fresnoman4man says

    Thank you Riley. Thank you for posting such informed and rational comments. I grew up trusting the medical establishment. Now I am almost 75 and very damaged by the operations I submitted to in 2019. I do believe a cabal of the wealthy elites are conspiring to turn the world into a dystopia and that Putin is a bonified member whose actions do not support the humanity of any people let alone Russians.

  6. Douglas Atkins says

    Excellent summary by Riley; massive data is also available, as he noted, from several Telegram channels. My apologies to Marko and Riley for having in the past posted, sometimes a bit rudely, attempting to save the Putin Regime as a last bastion of anti-empire. As Riley and lots of evidence make clear, that is no longer possible.

    1. Edward Slavsquat says

      Hey Douglas,
      I meant to reply to your comment but got side-tracked. Thanks for you message — and you have nothing to apologize for. We are all stumbling through the same incomprehensible labyrinth of mirrors. It took me months of research to find some of the material for this article. I also spent (wasted) years of my life shilling for Putin, so please don’t think I am trying to lecture to anyone. Be well and hopefully we’ll all make it through this mess.

  7. Eddy says

    I’m not fully conversant with the hierarchy of Russian Government, however from reading on many issues from Russia, I get the impression it’s run on similar systems as my own country. That is the Russian Government does not control the states, which have their own functioning Authorities making the rules for localised governance. Which is precisely the way things are done in my country. Our own local Governance makes the rules and runs the state, irrespective what the Federal Government thinks and does. In fact, this creates division within Federal arenas and often our Federal Government is at odds with state Government. Yet it appears this division is not emphasised in the media, so why is it, that something that is COMMON in many Western countries and accepted without question, when the same thing is done in Russia, complaints are laid at the feet of their Federal Government and the states are basicly ignored ????????? I smell something rotten in reports like this article.

    1. Edward Slavsquat says

      I smell something rotten in reports like this article.” …What exactly are you smelling, sir? Are you suggesting that Russia’s regions enjoy as much autonomy as, say, US states? I would rethink that position. Also, if the federal government is blameless, why is it 100% supportive of what is happening?

    2. Never Trust a Wizard says

      Remember that picture of Putin in a bunny suit? He went along with the covid scam from the beginning.

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