May holidays in the occupied Donbas were marked by mass celebrations, processions, parades and concerts. Everyone forgot about coronavirus at that time.
A "parade" of illegal armed formations and numerous processions were held in the occupied part of Donetsk oblast On the Victory Day (May 9) and the anniversary of the so-called "referendum" (May 11). Rallies were held in various cities of the "DNR", and the Lyube band performed in Donetsk. At the same time, there were no restrictions. On the contrary, the local occupation "authorities" did their best to bring as many people to the streets as possible.
State-financed organization received orders for participation in these events for their employees, additional buses were launched to the center of Donetsk and the curfew was canceled.
Mass events were also planned in occupied Luhansk, but at the last moment, the "LNR authorities" made a surprisingly balanced decision and canceled all the celebrations, having left only "military parade".
At the same time, there is no talk of any decline in the incidence in CADLO, and the pace of vaccination is being carefully hidden.
As of May 18, the "LNR Ministry of Health" reported 4497 registered and confirmed cases of COVID-19 infection.
At the same time, in the neighboring "DNR", 35 861 cases were officially registered as of May 18.
If only 424 deaths from coronavirus for the entire time of the pandemic were reported in Luhansk, then 2676 deaths were in Donetsk.
Simple calculations show that 0.3% of the population faced coronavirus in CALO, while 1.6% - in CADO. That is, the "official" incidence rate in the "DNR" is 5 times higher than in the "LNR".
The death rate from COVID-19 in Donetsk is 4 times higher than in Luhansk.
At the same time, it is the "LNR" that cancels all public events, fearing an outbreak of coronavirus, and Donetsk, on the contrary, as if defeating the pandemic, is celebrating and having fun with might and main.
There is no reason for fun though. Despite the "vaccination" with the Russian Sputnik V vaccine, which began in February, the number of new cases of COVID-19 in the "DNR" over the past four months has grown from 16 209 to 35 861, that is, more than twice. The "LNR" has a similar situation: the number of new cases during this time increased from 2243 to 4497. That is, the rate of spread of the coronavirus in both "republics" was approximately the same.
OstroV also calculated that since the beginning of May, no coronavirus research has been carried out in the "DNR" for 6 days (May 1, 2, 4, 8, 9, 11) "due to the disinfection of the laboratory". And the percentage of positive tests for COVID-19 in May ranges from 22% to 44%. For comparison, in Ukraine for the same period, it ranged from 6% to 12%. And this despite the fact that in Ukraine, on average, about 0.17% of the population is being tested daily while only 0.02% - in the "DNR" - that is, almost 9 times less.
There is also a strange situation with testing in "LNR". Firstly, they do not give official data on how many tests are done during the day and which ones (PCR, antigen or rapid). Secondly, the "Ministry of Health of the LNR" simply does not post any data on new cases on some days (for example, there are no data for May 3, 9, 10, 12, 16 and 17). Thirdly, the total number of patients did not change for five days (from May 2 to May 6), that is, no new cases were detected…
Another indicator that characterizes the catastrophic situation with coronavirus in the occupied Donbas is the mortality rate of patients diagnosed with COVID-19. Even according to "official" statistics, on average, it is 7.5% in the "DNR" and 9.4% - in the "LNR". For comparison, the same indicator in the free territory of the Donetsk oblast is 2.3%, in the Luhansk oblast - 3.3%, in Ukraine - 2.2% and in Russia - 2.4%.
Such indicators are the reason for the introduction of new restrictions and stricter control over the observance of the face-mask requirements, but CADLO decided to celebrate.
On April 29, so-called head of the "Donetsk Republic" Denis Pushilin issued an order to suspend the curfew on the territory of the "DNR" from April 30 to May 5 and from May 7 to May 12 and ordered to organize heavy presence. The largest mass public events were scheduled for May 8, 9 and 11.
Moreover, additional buses were even organized in Donetsk to transport citizens to bedroom communities after the holiday. That is, everything was done so that as many people as possible came to the city center for mass celebrations.
This is against the background of the fact that even the so-called Ministry of Health of the "DNR" warned residents and the occupation authorities about the dangers of holding mass events due to the risks of the rapid spread of COVID-19. This follows from the message of the fake "department".
"The epidemiologic situation in the incidence of coronavirus infection has worsened in the Republic. In this regard, the Ministry of Health strongly recommends that citizens continue to strictly observe preventive measures, especially during the May holidays - to limit visits to crowded places", - it says.
A meeting was held in Donetsk on April 30 with the participation of representatives of the "DNR" "Ministry of Health" and the "Republican Center for Sanitary and Epidemiological Surveillance of the State Sanitary and Epidemiological Service of the "DNR", at which a decision was made that it was impossible to hold any public events from May 1 to May 12.
Until recently, separatist media wrote about the possible cancellation of public events due to the difficult epidemiological situation in the region, but that did not happen. Propaganda and the desire to curry favor with the Russian curators prevailed over common sense. The Immortal Regiment turned out to be more important than living people.
According to the OSCE, about a thousand members of the illegal armed formations of the "DNR" and 5 thousand spectators took part in the May 9 "military parade" in occupied Donetsk.
In addition to the "military parade", in which conscripts of the first draft took part for the first time, the Immortal Regiment campaign took place. How the face-mask requirements and other restrictive measures were observed can be seen in the photo. Local "authorities" just did not give a damn about them.
But that is not all. Donetsk solemnly celebrated the so-called "Republic Day" on May 11 with a procession of many thousands and a free concert of the Lyube Russian band.
"Tens of thousands of Donetsk residents and visitors to the DNR capital gathered today at the festive events dedicated to the Republic Day. The celebrations are held in the central part of Donetsk. Then, a procession began on the main street of Donetsk - Artema Street. Residents of all cities and districts walked in a column. People were holding banners: "Our choice is Russia", "Donetsk is a Russian city", "Glory to the Donetsk People's Republic". Despite the rainy weather, the event attracted quite a large audience", - occupation media proudly wrote.
One of the stories on local television says that "the rainy cold weather did not prevent the crowd of thousands from coming to the main square of Donetsk in order to celebrate the Republic Day together with their favorite artist Nikolay Rastorguyev".
Not a word about the coronavirus pandemic, not a single masked person. Social distance or other restrictive measures have not even been heard about.
But not everything is so hopeless in the occupied Donbas. Mass events in the "Luhansk People's Republic" were somewhat more modest. They limited themselves to a "military parade" in Luhansk. This decision was made in connection with the unfavorable epidemic situation for the spread of COVID-19 in the "LNR".
The Immortal Regiment campaign was held in an online format, the work of field kitchens and other previously planned events was canceled.
Moreover, an official decision was made at a meeting of the Emergency Sanitary and Anti-Epidemic Commission, in which the residents of the "LNR" were recommended to refrain from attending public events, concerts, mass festivities, parades and processions.
The "Ministry of Communications and Mass Media" and the "Ministry of Culture, Sports and Youth" were instructed to organize a preliminary recording and television and video broadcasting of May 9 and 12 cultural events.
Vaccination: no statistics
Information about vaccinations in the occupied Donbas is very contradictory. On the one hand, the militants constantly report that there is enough vaccine, on the other hand, it is almost impossible for an ordinary person to get vaccinated.
According to occupation authorities of the "LNR", they received two batches (on February 1 and February 25) of the Russian Sputnik V vaccine. At the same time, the number of doses that Russia delivered to occupied Luhansk is unknown.
"Thanks to Russia, there are enough vaccines, vaccination rooms are consistently working, new, more numerous categories of the population are being prepared for vaccination with Sputnik V", - one of the stories of the separatist "LNR" media says.
The last vaccination message on the official website of the so-called "Ministry of Health of the Luhansk People's Republic" was dated April 27. It says that about 30 thousand residents of the "LNR" have already been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, and about 16 thousand more people received the first component of the vaccine.
If you believe this statistics, then about 2% of the population was vaccinated in CALO in a few months. It is difficult to judge whether this a lot or a little (especially considering the shortage of vaccines on the world market), but these figures hardly speak of a "sufficient amount of vaccines".
According to Yelena Andrieyenkova, deputy chief physician of the Luhansk Republican Sanitary and Epidemiological Service, the vaccine was received primarily by those categories that are in maximum contact with people in the course of their professional activities - medical workers, teachers, social workers and law enforcement agencies. Allegedly, 70% of them were vaccinated.
"Vaccination is underway for those social groups that, by the nature of their professional activities, regularly contact a large circle. There are sufficient quantities of vaccines now. In addition, further supplies are expected. Therefore, almost any (LNR) resident can find the closest hospital to his place of residence and apply there for vaccination", - Andrieyenkova stated.
At the same time, according to OstroV's sources in Luhansk, many state employees were unable to receive the second vaccination on time.
In social networks, local residents of the "LNR" share their experience of how they decided to test this statement in practice.
"I came to the local clinic, glad that I would get vaccinated and would not worry about the coronavirus. At the record department, they told me to go to hell in a not very correct form and said that even the doctors did not have enough vaccine so far. I heard about myself, how crazy I am, that there is a need to be patient and at first, vaccinate those who need it most", - Liudmyla from occupied Luhansk writes.
"I was told that now only those who are on some list are vaccinated. Like, someone from above makes up some lists and they vaccinate in our hospital only according to them. I tried to find out what the list is and how to get there, but it was not crowned with success. There is no vaccine. A doctor I knew advised me to go to Russia and get vaccinated there quietly. More chances", - Mykola complains.
OstroV asked local resident of Luhansk Iryna to call several clinics and find out if it is now possible to get a vaccine against coronavirus. In one case, they hung up when heard the reason for the call, in the other two, they refused.
"You cannot just come and get a vaccine now. Come, sign up and then you will be called up and invited", - they answered in one of the clinics.
The situation in the occupied territory of Donetsk oblast does not stand out from the crowd. They also report sufficient vaccines and good pace of vaccination, but everything is different in practice.
"Anyone can get vaccinated, for which it is necessary to register at the vaccination point or on the website of the Ministry of Health", - the website of the fake "Ministry of Health of the DNR" says.
At the same time, it is almost impossible to find official information on the number of vaccinated. The only message that comes out on the inquiry about the number of vaccinated in the "DNR" is the "republic" plans to vaccinate about a million people with the Russian Sputnik V vaccine by the end of 2021, that is, almost 50% of the population. There are also separate reports that all servicemen of the "People's Militia of the DNR" and 6000 teachers have been vaccinated against coronavirus infection.
There is also no information on the number of vaccines that were supplied to CADO. The last batch arrived from Russia on March 2. There was a burst of news in the local media about the large-scale vaccination of the population in the meantime. Nowadays news appears rarely if ever and with poor content.
Why is the statistics on vaccine supplies so stubbornly hidden? Perhaps, the fact is that the rate of vaccination in Russia itself, which supplies the vaccine to CADLO for free, leaves much to be desired: according to the latest data, only 6.6% of the population are vaccinated there. These are very low numbers for a country that produces vaccines (for example, 37.2% were fully vaccinated in the USA). The distribution of vaccines to third countries at such a pace can cause a well-founded negative reaction within Russia itself. That is why the deliveries to CADLO are so rare, and the number of vaccines is kept low key.
As for the new batches of vaccine, it should enter the "DNR" only in June. At least, this was stated by secretary of the general council of the United Russia party Andrey Turchak during his visit to occupied Donetsk.
"DNR leader Denis Pushilin, State Duma deputies Dmitry Sablin and Alesandr Karelin visited the (Medical) Center together with the secretary of the United Russia General Council. The Russian guests handed over medications to the medical institution to restore postcovid patients", - local media reported.
However, only the icon is captured out of the drugs in the official photo with the hospital doctor. Perhaps, wonder-working one - from all diseases and instead of vaccines.
Indeed, everyone can sign up for the "DNR" vaccination. There is even an online form on the website of the so-called "Ministry of Health of the DNR" where you can enter all your data for vaccination. But no one will contact you the next day, or even in a week or a month.
"Well, I signed up for this list a month ago. I signed up my mom, dad and a few other elderly relatives. Nothing happened. I also went to the clinic where the vaccination is given and called. They just took my data and told me to wait. The doctor confidentially told that now they were vaccinating the military, officials and their relatives, as well as those who have already passed the first stage. There were very few vaccines delivered and even the hospitals do not know the total amount", - local resident of Donetsk Maryna writes on a social network.
In early May, Anastasia Selivanova, who calls herself "the deputy of the People's Council of the DNR", reported on a social network that people regularly complain about the lack of vaccination in the region.
"People regularly complain to me that they signed up on the first of February, but no one calls them and invites them to be vaccinated. When I was vaccinated with the second component, a man called his wife on the phone: "No, do not come! There is no vaccine. Only those for the second time are injected… By the way, I still do not have a vaccination point in Telmanove. A huge area, people ask at gatherings: "Why are not they vaccinating us?"… They were waiting for a refrigerator to store the vaccine. I will find out after the holidays at what stage the issue is. It is correct to open vaccination points. The main thing is the availability of a vaccine, for which, in fact, these points are being opened", - she reported and noted that vaccination had been suspended due to the lack of supplies of the Russian vaccine.
Without giving exact figures on the number of vaccines delivered and the pace of vaccination, it seems that the process is in high gear. No specifics - there is nothing to complain about. It is enough to vaccinate several dozen people at least sometimes and shoot propaganda stories about it…
Vladyslav Bulatchik, OstroV