Police arrest Alexey Navalny upon arrival in Moscow. Russia’s authorities now must decide what to do with him.

The Russian authorities followed through on their threat to arrest opposition figure Alexey Navalny on Sunday, January 17, taking him into police custody after he landed at Vnukovo International Airport.

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Russia’s Top Online Retailer Launches in Germany

Russia’s largest online retailer — Wildberries — has launched in Germany in the latest stage of its international expansion, the company said Thursday.

Germany is Wildberries’ tenth country of operations and its first in western Europe. The firm will offer more than four million products to German shoppers and said it has a network of 40,000 collection points across the country.

Wildberries is Russia’s biggest online marketplace — recording more than 17 orders a second. The company reported total sales of more than $6 billion in 2020 — a 74% jump on the year before as the pandemic transformed Russia’s e-commerce industry, which for years had struggled to replicate rapid growth seen around the world.

The company is also aiming to launch in other western markets, where it will come into closer competition with Amazon, which is a non-player in the Russian e-commerce scene.

“In the near future, Wildberries is also planning to enter the markets of France, Italy and Spain.” Vyacheslav Ivashchenko, Wildberries’ Director of Development said.

Russia’s online retail sector remains highly fragmented, with Wildberries’ market share standing at under 15%. Specializing in clothes and footwear, Wildberries also faces stiff competition from well-funded competitors backed by Russia’s largest banks, technology companies and traditional retailers.

Rival Ozon — which claims second place — netted more than $1 billion in funding in a hugely successful initial public offering (IPO) on the U.S. Nasdaq Exchange at the end of last year.

Ozon’s $7 billion valuation prompted Forbes to reassess its value of privately-held Wildberries, suggesting founder Tatyana Bakalchuk could be Russia’s richest woman, with a personal fortune worth more than $10 billion. 

Bakalchuk’s rags-to-riches tale of travelling around Moscow using public transport to make deliveries in the firm’s early years has been heralded as an inspirational success story. But the company’s rapid growth has also raised questions as to possible secret sources of investment or high-level government support, business site The Bell reported last year.  

Wildberries was founded in 2004 and first started selling outside ex-Soviet countries in 2019, when it expanded into Slovakia, Poland and Israel.

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Why Russia’s Army Could Be Getting Smaller

Here’s What You Need to Remember: It likely should come as no surprise that the Russian Defense Ministry all but flat out rejected the Finance Ministry’s proposal, and called the ten percent military personnel cuts as unacceptable. The Defense Ministry sent its reasoning to Russia’s Security Council.

There is no denying that the world economy has suffered due to the global coronavirus pandemic, and while belt-tightening has occurred worldwide, news circulated that the Kremlin was considering cutting the size of Russia’s armed forces. According to a report that was first published in the daily Izvestia, Russia’s Finance Ministry had proposed cutting the size of Russian military personnel by ten percent as a cost-cutting measure.

Tass reported that the proposal didn’t actually suggest that Russia’s armed forces would be weakened or that it would have fewer personnel ready to defend the motherland, however.

Rather, the Finance Ministry’s proposed downsizing included cutting free vacancies and transferring medics, lecturers, HR specialists, financiers, lawyers, and logistics personnel to civil service. Other proposed belt-tightening included raising the retirement age for those serving in the military, increasing the length of military service—including for those obtaining military mortgage loans, and even saving funds on military rations.

However, authorities in Moscow were quick to state no decision had been made.

“No decisions on this score have been made,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters. “Expert discussions may quite be held but no such issues are at the stage of making decisions.”

Defense Ministry’s Rejection

It likely should come as no surprise that the Russian Defense Ministry all but flat out rejected the Finance Ministry’s proposal, and called the ten percent military personnel cuts as unacceptable. The Defense Ministry sent its reasoning to Russia’s Security Council.

“The Defense Ministry of Russia thoroughly analyzed the substance of the proposals prepared by Russia’s Finance Ministry on cutting the size of the Armed Forces and changing some provisions of the system of social guarantees for servicemen,” the Defense Ministry statement read as reported by state media. “It sent its reasoning on the unacceptable nature of these proposals and the absence of their support from the leadership of the Defense Ministry to the Security Council of the Russian Federation.”

Strength and Structure

It has also been reported that the numerical strength and structure of the Russian armed forces have been defended by the supreme commander-in-chief, and takes into account “the entire range of tasks for effectively ensuring the state’s security.”

The Defense Ministry maintains that the Russian military currently has a stable manning system that is balanced by the number of positions filled by military servicemen as well as civilian personnel.

“The Finance Ministry’s proposals on cutting the positions will yield a zero economic effect as the funds for paying money allowance to servicemen are allocated for the real numbers,” the Ministry’s statement added, and called the provisions that would transfer servicemen to the civil service to be ineffective.

The Defense Ministry also noted that such efforts to transfer military personnel to civil service between 2007 and 2012 proved to be not only ineffective, but prompted numerous problems that affected the combat potential of the military.

Key Provisions Deemed Ineffective

The Defense Ministry also countered the other belt tightening suggestions from the Finance Ministry, and responded that the legal norms of the retirement provision are sealed in existing legislation. Moreover, those serve as the basis for measures of social support for servicemen and members of their families. The Defense Ministry even suggested that the Finance Ministry lacked an understanding on the procedure of defining military pensions.

Additionally, the size of the military retirement pay is based on the length of service and ranges from fifty percent of money allowance for twenty years of military service to eighty five percent for those who served thirty-two or more years.

“Considering the five-year increase in the maximum length of military service implemented by the Defense Ministry for various categories of servicemen, the Defense Ministry of Russia jointly with other federal bodies of executive and state power earlier considered in detail the possible increase in the minimum length of service entitling for retirement from 20 to 25 years on condition of providing compensatory norms and mechanisms to increase the general level of social protection for servicemen and military retirees,” the statement added.

A similar hard line was taken on the matter of military mortgage; with the Defense Ministry suggesting that the proposal to increase the accumulative mortgage system of housing provision by five years would only push up long-term expenditures on providing servicemen with housing or paying them compensations.

Finally, the Defense Ministry noted that military service is a special type of civil service—one that is related to the state’s defense and security. The Ministry added that servicemen accomplish tasks associated with threats to their life and health.

“The leadership of the Defense Ministry of Russia has rejected the measures proposed by the Finance Ministry,” the Defense Ministry statement noted. “At the same time, the Defense Ministry will continue comprehensive work aimed at expanding effective social protection measures for servicemen and members of their families.”

The calls to cut defense spending come just two months after Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu issued demands to bring up to seventy percent of the equipment used by the troops to modern standards by the end of 2020.

Clearly, the treatment of soldiers to cut budgets is a universal issue and not one limited to Washington!

 Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer who has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers and websites. He is the author of several books on military headgear including A Gallery of Military Headdress, which is available on Amazon.comThis article first appeared last year and is being republished due to reader interest.

Image: Reuters.

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Russia’s Buryatia introduces mandatory coronavirus testing for visitors from Moscow

The authorities in Russia’s Republic of Buryatia have announced that anyone arriving from the cities of Moscow, Novosibirsk, Krasnoyarsk, and Khabarovsk will have to undergo mandatory testing for COVID-19.

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Russia’s Romance With China Is All About Keeping Up Appearances – The Diplomat

It’s no secret that 2020 has been a tough year for friendships. The prospect of setting up yet another videoconference, even with immediate family, has proven too much for many. And so, inevitably, drinking buddies and water-cooler acquaintances have struggled to survive in the age of social distancing.

For Russian President Vladimir Putin, however, there seems to be little risk of drifting apart from one of his closest allies on the world stage. Only last year, Chinese President Xi Jinping described Moscow’s leader as his “best friend,” and it appears a new set of challenges have done nothing to shake that.

On a bilateral call between Beijing and Moscow on December 29, Xi insisted that they would work “unswervingly” to develop an ever-closer partnership, and that “strategic cooperation between China and Russia can effectively resist any attempt to suppress and divide the two countries.”

The message to the world, and particularly to U.S. President-elect Joe Biden, was clear: You will be taking on a united front. Both China and Russia face sanctions from Washington and its partners in one form or another, and the incoming American leader makes little secret of his distaste for either. Through the Cold War lens he cultivated over decades in the Senate, Biden’s foreign policy worldview is one where Moscow and Beijing are still the bad guys.

Both Xi and Putin have a lot on the line when it comes to the transition of power in the United States. China is eager to leave Donald Trump’s crusade against its businesses and exports in the past when he leaves office, but there are no guarantees that a Democratic administration will be any less oppositional. Similarly, Russia has genuine concerns about the collapse of bilateralism with the U.S., after Washington pulled out of a series of weapons control treaties. With nothing to gain from a new arms race, it has its hopes pinned on Biden for the extension of the New START treaty, the last remaining brake on the number of nuclear missiles the two countries can maintain in their arsenals. Unless Washington comes back to the table, it will expire in February.

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Analysts have long seen blossoming ties between Russia and China as a shallow relationship and, given the difference in the size of their economies, inevitably an unequal one. However, those predictions appear to have fallen short and, given the political tensions between East and West, the world’s largest country and the world’s most populous country have found themselves in a marriage of convenience that both value. Trade with China has shored up Russia’s industries against sanctions, while Moscow is fast becoming its neighbor’s most important energy supplier.

But if, as Xi said this week, Moscow and Beijing won’t be pulled apart, the question remains as to whether they can be pushed closer together. Despite the warm rhetoric, the reality of Sino-Russian diplomacy is that it runs a mile wide and an inch deep. Despite how closely the two nations are linked in trade and investment, theirs is a still a broadly economic partnership underpinned by almost no political integration.

The Western blocs that they seek to counterbalance are defined by the exchange of intelligence through pacts like the Five Eyes, and through joint military operations under the auspices of NATO. For now at least, Chinese spies and Russian generals appear to be a long way from contemplating anything similar. And, given Russia’s wariness over China’s growing role in its historic sphere of influence in Central Asia, that is likely to remain the case for the time being. There is also the added challenge that both parties effectively already have what they want from each other and neither currently sees the need to extend beyond economic partnership.

As a result, the idea of a deeper, lasting alliance between Moscow and Beijing is, for both of them, more useful than the actual reality of it. The two nations have a track record in overcoming past animosity and present-day frictions in the face of sanctions, trade wars, and attempts to leave them politically isolated. While fighting those battles has undoubtedly hurt both, their presentation of a united front is designed to demonstrate that they can survive them together if they have to.

Neither Putin nor Xi wants to turn their back on the West and, in fact, the opposite is true. With the colossal Nord Stream 2 pipeline linking Siberia’s natural gas fields to consumers in Germany, France, and the U.K., Russia has set out a bold future for its role in European energy markets. China, on the other hand, achieved a coup on December 30, signing a comprehensive trade deal with the EU after seven years of hard-fought negotiations. Both evidently see prosperity in stable links with the region.

Not everyone is supportive of that paradigm. The United States is aggressively lobbying against Nord Stream 2, even sanctioning German firms involved in its construction, on the pretext that it is a grave threat to energy security. Cynics claim, though, that Washington’s motives are less noble, and more closely related to ambitions to ply its shale gas to the European market. Likewise, Brussels’ decision to end the year by popping corks with Beijing risks antagonising both the incoming and outgoing U.S. administrations.

As convenient as friendly relations between the Kremlin and Zhongnanhai are, the threat that ties could run deeper in the face of political and economic conflict is their powerful attribute. If Moscow is forced to export less gas to Europe, it will export more to China. If Beijing feels naval tensions with the United States are rising in the South China Sea, greater coordination with the Russian fleet in the Sea of Japan is always an option.

While those kinds of arrangements would be a nightmare for many Western leaders, the irony is that few have as large a part to play in whether it comes about as they do. For European and American capitals, every punitive step, every sanction and every newly-imposed tariff carries the risk of driving Russia and China further into each other’s arms.

Gabriel Gavin is a writer and political consultant living in London, U.K. His reporting and analysis on Central and Eastern Europe has been featured in print and online for outlets including The Independent, UnHerd and The Kyiv Post.

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Russia’s economy to grow 3-4% in 2021 – central bank

FILE PHOTO: A medical specialist enters a pavilion of the Exhibition of Achievements of National Economy (VDNH), which was converted into a temporary hospital for people suffering from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Moscow, Russia November 17, 2020. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov

December 28, 2020

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The latest case against Mr. Navalny. Meduza breaks down the evidence, or lack thereof, presented by federal investigators against Russia’s top oppositionist

In the late evening hours of Tuesday, December 29, Russia’s Federal Investigative Committee announced felony fraud charges against Anti-Corruption Foundation founder Alexey Navalny and “other individuals.” The opposition figure and his colleagues are suspected of embezzling hundreds of millions of rubles in donations to their organizations “to buy property and valuables” for themselves. Pro-Kremlin bloggers have circulated these same allegations for years without ever presenting convincing evidence. Meduza examines the biggest questions about the Russian authorities’ new case against Navalny, which comes just weeks after he accused President Putin of personally ordering his assassination. 

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Russia’s Angara rocket challenges NASA’s Artemis program

One does not want to think much about worldliness on New Year’s Eve. The Year of the Rat is going away under the banner of the struggle against the coronavirus infection, and this is a highly worldly matter. Russia has launched the Sputnik V vaccine, which has every chance of triumphantly defeat the disease on the entire planet. Does Russia have any chances to extend its influence beyond planet Earth?

The Soviet Union used to be the leader in space exploration. Unfortunately, today’s Russia cannot boast of the same. At the same time, NASA has taken a long way ahead with the help of public and private partnership. Elon Musk’s SpaceX has pushed many players on the market with the help of Falcon launch vehicles and Dragon cargo ships.

The flight of the manned spacecraft Crew Dragon to the ISS became an unprecedented challenge to Roscosmos in 2020.

For comparison, the design of the new Russian spaceship “Oryol” (“Eagle”) started back in 2009, and there is still no light at the end of the tunnel. It is expected, though, that the test launch of the Oryol spaceship on the Angara-A5 carrier rocket from the Vostochny cosmodrome is to take place in late 2023. If successful, the first unmanned flight to the ISS will take place next year, and a manned one – in 2025.

The Angara is a whole family of space rockets: from the light Angara-1.1 version to the super-heavy Angara-A5B. Their development began in the 1990s to replace the Soviet Protons. The advantage of the Angara rocket lies in the use of less toxic fuel (kerosene and liquefied oxygen). The new rocket also boasts adjustable carrying capacity as universal rocket modules can be added to its design.

Can we consider the recent successful launch (the second one after a long break) of the Angara-A5 heavy rocket from the Plesetsk cosmodrome a worthy response to Elon Musk and NASA? It can hardly be called a breakthrough, but, nevertheless, this is another step towards the intended goal.

Artemis eyes the Moon

Russia will be able to claim leadership positions in the field of civil space exploration if the country switches to the new rocket and space technology of the Angara rocket family in the coming years. In addition, Russia also needs to develop a new manned spacecraft, the head of Roscosmos Dmitry Rogozin believes.

Four years ago, while serving as Deputy Prime Minister, he announced an ambitious and interesting goal – the creation of a permanent Russian scientific station on the Moon until 2030. According to Rogozin, this would open up “great technological opportunities in space” for Russia.

To achieve it, one needs to do the following:

  • to make a technological breakthrough;

  • build a super-heavy rocket;

  • build an orbital module in lunar orbit;

  • build a reusable descent vehicle, etc.

However, it appears that the United States is much closer to the designated goal with its Artemis program.

A NASA project with the participation of US private companies, the European Space Agency, the UK, Canada, Australia, Japan and other countries envisages a manned mission to the Moon in 2024, the construction of Gateway lunar station and the creation of the lunar infrastructure.

  • NASA reported last summer that the Orion reusable spacecraft for the Artemis-1 mission was ready.

  • In September 2019, NASA concluded a contract with Lockheed Martin to build a minimum of six and a maximum of 12 Orion spacecraft.

  • Boeing Corporation is completing the work on the construction of the Space Launch System super-heavy launch vehicle.

  • The development of lunar landers was entrusted to Blue Origin, Dynetics and SpaceX.

According to NASA chief Jim Bridenstine, the successful implementation of the lunar program should be the forerunner of the planned manned mission to Mars in the 2030s. It is no coincidence that Elon Musk’s company works on a fantastic project – a giant reusable Starship spacecraft with a carrying capacity of 100 tons for flights to Mars. It will be launched into space by the largest-ever launch vehicle Super Heavy (a reusable one too), equipped with 28 Raptor methane-powered engines. With Elon Musk’s stubbornness in mind, such incredible plans do not seem to be empty words.

China is also making its significant contribution to space exploration. Not that long ago, the whole world learned about the triumph of Chinese specialists, when the Chang’e-5 probe successfully landed on the moon, collected soil samples and delivered about two kilograms of regolith back to Earth.

It was only the Soviet Luna-24 probe that could succeed in such a mission back in 1976. The implementation of the Chang’e program is to take China to the stage of the manned flight to the Moon no later than in 2036.

Russia in the lunar race: Flying in space at snail’s pace

Russian politicians were rather skeptical about the USA’s plans for the exploration of the moon. There are many critical remarks, but the main complaint is related to the great American habit of being always “at the head of the table.” Speaking about the Artemis program and NASA’s desire to involve Russia country in it, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov condemned “Washington’s departure from the principles of equal cooperation and attempts to impose secondary roles on potential partners.”

The head of Roscosmos also considered Russia’s participation in the Artemis program inappropriate, since this project in its current form aims to serve the interests of the American side in the first place.

“As you know, Artemis was a Greek goddess. We are now preparing Zeus amendments to this agreement,” Rogozin joked.

As the press service of the state corporation reported, Roscosmos is to resume the lunar program from next year. The implementation of the program is to take place in several stages until 2040.

  • By 2025, it is planned to build the basic module for the lunar station, test the Oryol manned spacecraft and explore the moon with the help of automated stations.

  • The second stage stipulates for first manned flights to the Moon and the installation of the first elements of the base.

  • In 2029, the Oryol spacecraft is to make a manned flight around the Moon.

  • The construction of the long-term lunar base is planned for the period from 2030 to 2035.

Experts believe that the carrying capacity of Angara launch vehicles will not be enough for manned missions to the Moon. That is why such super-heavy launch vehicles as Yenisei, Don and Leader are under development. Yet, these projects require trillions of rubles in financial investments. In addition, work is underway to create an oxygen and hydrogen-powered upper stage KBTK for the Angara rocket. Preliminary design of a reusable rocket on liquefied natural gas has begun, plus there are ideas for creating a reusable space nuclear-powered tug, etc.

The lunar program can be costly for the Russian budget. Is the game worth the candle? Russian  scientists are convinced that the answer to this question is positive. In particular, Lev Zeleny, scientific director of the Space Research Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences, notes the presence of uranium, titanium, thorium and other rare metals on the Moon.

When the earth is depleted of its rare metals, without which the industry will suffocate, one will have to pay attention to the moon, the scientist believes.

In addition, the Moon is an ideal location for radio astronomy and other observations due to electromagnetic silence and absence of atmosphere.

The creation of the first extraterrestrial laboratory on the Moon to study lunar materials, meteorites and depths of the universe – all this sounds extremely tempting. And yet, as Dmitry Rogozin said, before exploring deep space we need to bring our own planet in order.

“We have a gigantic country that has not yet been properly explored, we still do not know how to use all the huge resources that we have, and if we do, then we often do it barbarically,” Rogozin said.

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Russia’s coronavirus death toll figure doubles in new tally

A woman leaves a bar during a police raid to identify violations of the mayor’s decree on the work of bars and restaurants after 11pm in a bar in Moscow, Russia.Credit:AP

Though death tolls fluctuate year-to-year, tallies of what are referred to as excess deaths can illustrate the impact of the pandemic by including cases where the novel coronavirus was not a confirmed cause of death, as well as deaths from other causes that could be linked to the fact that national medical systems are over-stretched.

Rosstat shared new data on Monday about the total number of deaths reported in Russia in November.

The data showed the number of deaths was 55.6 per cent higher compared to the same month last year, or 219,872 more deaths in total.

Of these, the statistics service said, 35,645 deaths were directly related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Earlier this month, the service reported the number of deaths in October, which indicated deaths were up 30.3 per cent on the same month the previous year.

Visitors wearing face masks as a precaution against the coronavirus walk in Seoul, South Korea.

Visitors wearing face masks as a precaution against the coronavirus walk in Seoul, South Korea.Credit:AP

South Korea, meanwhile, said 40 more coronavirus patients died in the past 24 hours, the highest daily fatalities since the pandemic began, as the country is grappling with surging cases in recent weeks.

The Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency said Tuesday that it’s logged 1046 new cases, taking the total caseload to 58,725 with 859 deaths. The country’s daily tally had been below 1000 in the past two days, apparently because fewer tests were taken over the weekend.

The agency says 17,163 people with active infections remain in quarantine and 330 of them are in serious or critical condition.

The 40 deaths are a record daily toll. Previous daily records were 24 deaths reported on December 21 and December 22. Some observers say surging fatalities reflect an increase of cases at nursing homes and long-term care centres.

China on Tuesday reported seven new cases of coronavirus infection in the capital Beijing, where authorities have ordered the testing of hundreds of thousands of residents.

Cases have been clustered largely in villages on Beijing’s northeastern edge, but authorities are wary of any spread in the capital that could deal a setback to claims it has all-but-contained local spread of the virus.

City authorities have already urged residents not to leave the city during the upcoming Lunar New Year holidays.

China has cancelled big gatherings such as sports events and temple fairs.

A total of 27 cases were reported on Tuesday, including eight in the northeastern province of Liaoning and 12 brought from outside the country. China has reported a total of 87,003 cases and 4634 deaths since the virus was first detected in the central city of Wuhan late last year.

Reuters, AP

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Why did Argentina approve Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine?

Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine against SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus has been approved in Argentina urgently. Why did the country violate the unspoken taboo for the use of the Russian vaccine?

Traditionally, the vaccine must be approved by the Ministry of Health, but under the conditions of the pandemic, a law was passed empowering the National Administration of Medicines, Foods and Medical Devices (ANMAT) to conduct the procedure urgently and provide a report to the Ministry of Health.

The ANMAT made such a decision on Wednesday, December 23.

“The National Agency for Drugs, Foods and Medical Devices intervened within its mandate, recommending that the Sputnik V vaccine be allowed for use,” the decree said.

The ANMAT said that the delegation from the department visited the Gamaleya Research Centre in the Russian Federation. This centre is the maker of the Sputnik V vaccine, it also carries responsibility for high-quality production and release of processed batches. The delegation, as part of the program, also paid a visit to Generium and Biocad factoies, which are part of the production process.”

The department indicates that the Sputnik V vaccine:

  • was certified in the country of origin for compliance with quality standards;

  • provides information on its safety and effectiveness over 91%;

  • there were no serious side effects, nor were there any significant differences in efficacy observed in different age groups that participated in clinical trials.

Pfizer approved but did not confirm supplies

On Wednesday evening, December 23, ANMAT announced that the SARS-CoV-2 vaccine from Pfizer SRL was also approved, although this vaccine had previously received approval from the Argentine Ministry of Health. The Russian vaccine (300,000 doses) was delivered to Argentina before Christmas, but nothing has been decided yet as far as the supplies of the Pfizer vaccine is concerned.

Sources at Pfizer confirmed to the Clarín newspaper that there were certain disagreements about the contract. It goes about Argentina’s compensation to the pharmaceutical company for damages in cases of misuse or loss of the vaccine, except for cases resulting from fraud, malicious behavior or negligence on the part of the aforementioned entities.”

There are probably transportation difficulties as the Pfizer vaccine requires storage conditions at temperatures of minus 70 degrees Celsius. The company is not ready to answer for “negligence.”

Meanwhile, the Argentine government promised that the vaccination would begin before the end of this year, and the Argentine Ministry of Health certified Sputnik V on December 23, immediately after the ANMAT report. Argentine has thus become the second country in the world after Belarus to have registered the Russian vaccine.

In an interview with reporters, Argentinean President Alberto Fernandez assured that he would be one of the first people to be vaccinated with Sputnik V.

In this context, the head of state indicated that he wanted to have all available vaccines in his country, because the epidemiological crisis in Argentina is extremely serious. Therefore, vaccines from other two companies are also awaiting ANMAT’s approval, AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson.

The Western media wage an information war against the Russian vaccine. There is an unspoken ban on its approval: this was directly indicated to Ukraine at the US Embassy, ​​while supplies of Western vaccines to Kiev were also denied. Alberto Fernandez did not complain to the media that he did not know how to explain it to the Argentines that the Russian vaccine could not be purchased – he simply purchased it and thus proved it to everyone that the lives of Argentines matter.

AstraZeneca earlier announced that it would test a joint vaccine with Russia. They will take the second component from Sputnik V, which is believed to enhance the effectiveness of their own vaccine. However, the Western media prefers to keep silence about that.

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