Russia attributes its lower virus death figures to mass testing which has identified many cases with mild or no coronavirus symptoms.
The Health Ministry is now adjusting how it reports numbers to include all deaths believed to be related to the virus even if the direct cause of death was another condition or the patient tested negative.
Former Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin, a liberal politician known for his outspoken comments, said Russia’s health system requires more funds and modernization in many regions.
“Medicine is significantly underfunded even according to the current norms and also it needs a serious overhaul,” Kudrin, who heads the Audit Chamber that examines government spending, said in an interview with the state-run TASS state news agency.
Starting July 13, Moscow will no longer require people to wear masks outdoors as the number of new coronavirus cases has dwindled in the Russian capital in recent weeks.
Moscow lifted restrictions including compulsory travel passes on June 8, a move welcomed by residents who rushed out to enjoy the streets and parks.
Many other regions lifted lockdown restrictions ahead of a July 1 national vote despite the pandemic.
Critics have cast doubt on Russia’s low official mortality rate and accused authorities of under-reporting to play down the scale of the crisis.
“We will carry out a check and show these figures,” he added.
Nevertheless the economist said Russia “is not doing a bad job with the pandemic,” crediting the role of the military, which has built emergency facilities.
Disappearing Ink Sparks Corruption Allegations Against Moscow Officials
A Moscow municipal lawmaker has accused officials of corruption after discovering a contract price written in disappearing ink.
Cheryomushki District councillor Yelena Selkova posted a video of herself holding a lighter next to the contract. Within seconds, the 2.6 million ruble ($37,500) figure can be seen vanishing from the paper.
“Let’s check the price,” Communist Party member Selkova said in the video, referring to the contract for an elevator replacement at a local apartment complex. “And it’s gone.”
Selkova said she got hold of the contract because she was chosen to replace a sitting ruling party lawmaker who had gone on sick leave.
The disappearing ink revelation, she suggested, means that the price could later be raised and the difference pocketed by corrupt officials.
“I won’t even mention that by the time I arrived, all the acts had already been signed by everyone except me (before the commission started!)” Selkova wrote.
“Why do residents need independent municipal deputies not from pro-Kremlin ruling party United Russia? At least to reduce corruption in capital repairs!” she wrote.
In an interview with the Moskovskaya Gazeta outlet, Selkova said she’ll send a complaint to prosecutors but added that the chances of anyone being punished for the alleged fix were low.
“They’ll likely forward my complaint to the same capital repair fund I’m complaining about,” she said Sunday.
“The fund will likely say that they got the wrong pen or the ink was bad and they don’t understand how that happened.”
Asked how she figured out how to check the ink, Selkova credited a WhatsApp group of her colleagues from other districts who encountered similar issues with disappearing ink.