On April 10, Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin announced that a digital pass system to enforce coronavirus lockdown rules are being introduced in the city.
According to Sobyanin, Moscow will gradually introduce a digital pass system to enforce ‘self-isolation’ rules (imposed under a threat of various administrative punishments) starting April 14.
- The first stage will include the introduction of passes for trips to work;
- The second stage will introduce special passes for other trips;
- The third stage will introduce them for trips within the region.
The decision was made under a pretext of fighting the COVID-19 outbreak in the Russian capital of Moscow. Earlier, the Russian capital was widely reported to be planning a system of scannable QR code passes to limit residents’ movements to leave their homes during the lockdown that’s currently scheduled to end on May 1.
Under the measures imposed by Moscow authorities, residents of the capital and the region were banned from leaving home on March 30, except for food, urgent medical care or walking a pet within a permitted radius of 100 m. A violation of this ‘self-isolation regime’ is punishable by a fine of up to 5,000 rubles (~65 USD). Hint: the minimal wage in Russia is about 140 USD.
Violators of this regime could be sentenced to larger fines – from 15 thousand to 300 thousand rubles (~4,000 USD). The first such fines were issued in Moscow on April 9 – with fines of 15 thousand rubles.
Furthermore, if the ‘violator’ uses a personal car, the car may be detained and sent by police to a special parking lot.
These draconian measures in Moscow were imposed despite the fact that the COVID-19 outbreak in Russia is ongoing without serious issues. As of April 10, the total number of infected people in Russia was 11917. Taking into account that the number of tested people across Russia is 1,090,000, there is in fact no any kind of pandemic in the country. The death rate from COVID-19 currently stands at 0.78% (94 people died). It also should be noted that according to reports by official research centers in Germany and Italy, 80% of infected people pass through COVID-19 without symptoms. Therefore, it’s possible to assume that the real number of infected people is 3-5 times higher than the established one. So, the death rate is even lower than 0.78%.
It’s important to note that the limitations imposed in Moscow and some other regions were placed without the introduction of the state of emergency in the country. Thus, the decision to impose such measures imposed and limit freedoms of the Russian citizens contradicts to the Russian Constitution.
For example, even in Germany’s Free State of Bavaria, where the state of emergency was introduced, did not employ such limitations towards people living there. They still have a right to make trips and even engage in sports activities if they keep the social distance of 1m.
This situation in Moscow rises concerns among a large part of the city’s residents that question the real motives behind actions of local authorities. According to some Russian sources, Sobyanin and other members of the Western-affiliated part of the Russian elites are just exploting the COVID-19 hype to strengthen own political positions and control over all aspects (political, administrative, social, security) of the life in the capital.
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