Photograph : Anton Smirnov, RFE/RL

Photograph : Anton Smirnov, RFE/RL

It is already possible to recognize that Russia has lost the Third World War, it is a medical diagnosis. The demographic losses due to Covid19 already amount to one million people in one and a half years, compared to the deaths during the First World War (from 1.3 to 1.5 million in four years). Currently, according to figures provided by the independent demographer Alexei Rakcha, between 200 to 300,000 people are infected daily, with 3,300 to 3,500 dying each day1. Moreover, these statistics might be even worse in November.

This defeat is entirely the fault of our dysfunctional government, which has failed to provide information, isolation and vaccination. All the myths about authoritarian regimes have been shattered by the total paralysis of our regime - it is only capable of ensuring its own survival but is disastrously incapable of protecting its own population against a global threat. In other words, it is not fulfilling its primary duty: providing security.

This is all the more appalling because Russia was well armed for this war. Since Semashko [an academician, one of the organizers of the Soviet health system in the 1930s-1940s], there has been a paramilitary system of medicine and vaccination, including preventive medicine, whose capabilities, although not ultra-modern, are sufficient to ensure a relatively simple logistical and medical operation, with a functional administrative hierarchy at the level of regions, districts and municipalities. This system, which completely ignores civil protest, is a corporate verticality that can isolate or vaccinate millions of its employees on command. Moreover, our doctors have created a globally competitive, easily manufactured and transportable vaccine, inherited from the Soviet advanced vaccination industry.

But this gigantic army of doctors, officials armed with vaccines simply vanished at the first credible threat the country faced in the 21st century: the Kremlin locked itself in its bunker, following the example of Stalin who had panicked in his dacha in June 1941; the officials, were afraid to impose quarantine without orders from above (with the exception of the somersault of Sergei Sobyanin, mayor of Moscow, in April 2020); among the doctors, some heroically filled the gaps by their bodies, while the others spread anti-vaccine fabrications themselves! As for the vaccines, they have been sent to distant countries for unclear geopolitical purposes, or dumped gently into medical centers’ sinks, while trafficking in fake vaccination certificates. Just like in June ‘41, when almost all the Soviet aviation was bombed on airfields and tanks in parks…

The majority of the population shamefully surrendered to the virus. Of course, both the authorities and the propaganda went to great lengths to teach the citizens to ignore the facts by inculcating them with conspiracy theories, lying to them for a long time about the so-called successes of Russia and the so-called failures of the West in relation to the virus. Thanks to the efforts of RT and other propagandist trash that invented fakes about the virus and vaccines, these fakes came back like a boomerang to infect Russia. But this is only one aspect of the problem, the other being the calamitous state of Russian society, incapable of the most elementary solidarity and social cohesion, incapable of caring about its relatives and the common good, accustomed to risk and bathing in medical and social nihilism, in indifference and contempt for one’s own body. All these national ills, far from having arisen in the 21st century, have emerged from the bowels of Soviet history and prehistory, aggravated by mass culture, obscurantism and fakes in the age of 3G and social networks. It is a simultaneous rout of power and society that complement each other wonderfully in this fatal and suicidal tango.

Last year, I often expressed my concern about the virus, I described its danger and its future attacks, which earned me the reputation of Covid scarecrow from the most “talented” of my readers. This year, on the contrary, I am quite at ease. I have learned a lot about Russia, its leaders and its people. Certainly, there is still a lot to learn. About those who buy a vaccination certificate, who don’t care about masks, who crowd the airport check-in counters to leave on full planes on Covid vacations, about those parents who write requests to the prosecutors asking that their children would not be tested at school, about those millions of passive citizens who accept reality as it is, as they are used to it, without wanting to change a single thing, without wanting to change the power or their own habits, and who march in cohorts towards their demise with submission, as other Russian citizens have done in previous generations. It’s just like Darwin, I say to myself, it’s unexpected that in Russia in 2020-21 a process of natural selection, an absolute test of survival ability, would take place and that the majority of the population would simply fail it.

Judging from the evolution of the virus and the news from other countries, this story will not end in 2023 or 2024, the virus will mutate, evolve from region to region, change, strengthen in Russian-type populations and take on the character of seasonal waves. Partial isolation and revaccination practices will become common and will be present everywhere. But, in this context, Russia will never reach the threshold of herd immunity of about 80%, because new variants will appear and people will catch them a second, third, fifth time. Moreover, our country is structurally incapable of complying with anti-epidemic and vaccine regulations, so the state of demographic and medical catastrophe will probably become chronic, less acute, with all the losses that will follow: loss of quality of life, decreased life expectancy, and a constant state of emergency, of course.

And I am thinking, of course, of the authorities, the army generals and intelligence secret services who dream of hypersonic rockets and of military bases in the Arctic, who secretly create new chemical laboratories and troops of cyber warriors, preparing for a hypothetical great war around 2030 which makes their hearts beat faster, without them noticing that they have already irretrievably lost the real war.

Traduit du russe par Colette Hartwich

  1. These figures based on excess mortality calculated from the totality of death certificates for the period are considerably higher than the official data. EDITOR’S NOTE 

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