Russians are using Trump’s playbook to downplay the devastation of COVID-19: report

According to a report from the Daily Beast’s Anna Nemtsova, the Russian Communist Party is taking a page out of the White House’s playbook to disguise from the public the devastation caused by the coronavirus pandemic while at the same time creating doubts about the need for vaccinations.

The report notes that the Communist Party in Russia is leading the charge to downplay concerns, while at the same time making the case that an overreaction to the deadly pandemic could cripple an already struggling economy.

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If that sounds familiar, Nemtsova writes, it is because the actions are mirroring the effort by the Trump administration that tried to downplay concerns over fears it would impact his ultimately doomed the president’s re-election efforts.

“Though its top leaders have mostly stayed clear of the issue, the rank-and-file in Russia’s Communist Party, the direct successor of the once giant Soviet party, have become the most visible coronavirus deniers and anti-vaxx agitators in Russia,” she wrote. “Rising leaders in Russia’s largest opposition party have taken up the issue refusing to wear masks, downplaying social distancing, dismissing quarantine plans and even insisting they will not take Russia’s own vaccine.”

According to the report mass vaccination efforts were launched last weekend using Russia’s own vaccine called Sputnik V, but turnout has not been what is needed to stem the tide of COVID-19 infections with 59 percent of Russians stating they don’t trust the vaccine.

Part of that mistrust can be attributed to the Communist Party officials.

In an interview with the Beast, Valery Rashkin — head of the Communist Party in Moscow — dismissed the need for the vaccine, saying in an interview, “I have had a Soviet ideological vaccine against thieves and liars, it keeps me healthy,” before adding that concerns about the pandemic are hurting poor people the most.

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“Much like President Trump and the Republican Party in the U.S., Rashkin says the impact of the pandemic is exaggerated and restrictions must be lifted to save businesses, he claims nearly 1,000 small and medium businesses have gone bankrupt during the pandemic,” the report states with Rashkin adding, “Don’t believe Moscow is rich, it is a city with an immense number of poor people and the largest number of oligarchs; people are left without help to survive on pennies, while authorities spread gloom and fear.”

“Communist leaders claim the party’s popularity has been growing during the pandemic, which concerns the Kremlin’s administration. In local elections in September, 32 percent of the capital’s residents voted for Communists,” Nemtsova wrote, adding, “Just like Soviet communists, modern Russian Leninists inspire confrontations between poor and rich, although the modern party accepts the market economy and international trade, and has taken to recruiting small business owners.”

The report goes on to note that Russia saw a record 613 deaths from COVID-19 on Friday alone, with the overall death toll passing 45,000.

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