Do Kremlin media share the blame for spreading Covid? The recent surge in Covid numbers in Russia may be an example of how careless talk costs lives.
For months, Russians had been told by officials and Kremlin-controlled media. How successful their country had been at battling the coronavirus, while the West was described as failing miserably.
People in Europe, for instance, were said to be confused and angry because of endless lockdowns. There were reports on Russian TV of violence, rioting and vaccine shortages in the West.
Time and again, Russian TV described Western vaccines as part of the problem. And claimed that they were causing more deaths. No evidence is offer to back up these claims.
Meanwhile, in Russia, state TV would say, things were getting better: restrictions were being lifted, shopping centers. And museums were reopening, students were going back to universities, and vaccination was proceeding apace. Only little mention was made of how many Russians exactly had been vaccinated. Or how many had died because of the virus – it had been all but defeated, supposedly.
Now the rhetoric has changed. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov on Friday blamed a record number of daily Covid infections in the capital, Moscow, on “nihilism” and state TV is alarmed and broadcasting pro-vaccination appeals.
But given the past behavior by both officials and the media. It should perhaps come as no surprise if many in Russia are complacent and distrustful of vaccines.
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