Compulsory COVID vaccination in the Russian military: Just the facts, please
Edward's response to UK Column's penetrating journalism
Your humble correspondent has once again been exposed as a dangerous H-O-A-X-E-R! But this time by UK Column. Oh no not again.
Before we address these new damning and devastating accusations, let’s briefly review the history of compulsory vaccination in the Russian military.
June 18, 2021: Russia’s MOD adopts compulsory COVID vaccination decree
On June 16, Moscow introduced Russia’s first compulsory vaccination decree. The Defense Ministry followed suit two days later, making vaccination mandatory for employees and contractors.
In an order signed on June 18, 2021, Igor Azarov, Chief State Sanitary Doctor of the Ministry of Defense, called for “mandatory preventative” COVID vaccination for Russia’s military. The decree applied to:
1.1. Servicemen of all categories, performing military service by conscription and contract. Citizens called up for military service (military training) who have not completed vaccination before being drafted.
1.2. Employees working in organizations, for individual entrepreneurs operating on the territory of facilities of the Russian Ministry of Defense (including all employees of contractors) in the field of:
military trade and catering;
communal and consumer services;
education, including in the field of implementation of additional educational programs;
military healthcare and sanatorium-resort provision;
exhibition, educational events (including employees of museums, exhibition halls, libraries, lecture halls), with the exception of official events organized by military authorities;
patriotic education of children;
sports and recreation complexes.
65% of all Defense Ministry employees needed to receive the first component of the vaccine by July 15, 2021, and the second component by August 15. The decree provided exemptions to those who could not be vaccinated due to medical reasons.
On the same day, Anna Popova, head of the Federal Service for Surveillance on Consumer Rights Protection and Human Wellbeing (Rospotrebnadzor), described compulsory vaccination as a “new tool” that could be used to increase the country’s vaccination rate.
June 22, 2021: Conscripts will also be injected
Deputy Defense Minister Timur Ivanov announced on June 22 that an estimated 134,000 conscripts called up in the spring would also be vaccinated.
“[Ivanov] added that the decision of the chief state sanitary doctor of the Ministry of Defense of June 18 introduced mandatory vaccination of all categories of military personnel, workers involved in socially important facilities, as well as certain categories of federal civil servants,” Interfax reported on June 22.
Separately, Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu disclosed that immunization of “main units” was completed in May and that the MOD was now vaccinating the family members of military personnel:
“We have already received more than a million doses of the vaccine, we have 910,00 vaccinated. We completed the vaccination in our main units a month ago,” he said. After the Airborne Forces, the Navy, the Special Operations Forces and the Air Force received vaccinations, the Defense Ministry moved on to vaccinating the families of military personnel, the minister said.
July 1, 2021: Revaccination campaign begins
On July 1, Russian military personnel vaccinated before January 1, 2021 were ordered to undergo revaccination. The order also applied to family members of MOD employees, civil servants within the ministry, and “military retirees”.
The MOD’s revaccination order came about a week after Gamaleya Center director Alexander Gintsburg (the developer of Sputnik V) said re-injection was necessary to ward of the “Indian” (later renamed “Delta”) strain.
August 6, 2021: No “COVID dissidents” in the military
Shoigu announced on August 6 that 1.4 million military personnel and MOD employees had been vaccinated. He added that 34,000 personnel had already been revaccinated.
The defense minister confirmed that conscripts were also being injected, but insisted no one was being coerced into getting the shot because there were no anti-vaxxers in the military.
“So far, we don’t have ‘COVID dissidents’ or, as they are also called, ‘anti-vaxxers’. I hope that this will continue, because everyone understands that the tasks facing the Armed Forces [mass compulsory vaccination] do not imply any additional [health] risks,” Shoigu said.
October 2021: Mandatory vaccination spreads across Russia
By the end of October, every region in Russia had some form of compulsory vaccination (discussed in detail here).
And while regions (cheered on by the federal government) adopted their own special flavors of mandatory vaccination, regional authorities were careful to remind their residents that vaccination was still compulsory for military personnel and conscripts. For example:
December 21, 2021: Vaccination has “guaranteed high combat readiness of units and formations”
During a meeting with Shoigu on December 21, Putin praised the MOD’s “almost 100% vaccination” rate, claiming that the (compulsory) injection program had strengthened Russia’s combat readiness.
“I would like to emphasize that the army has implemented all the necessary measures to combat the coronavirus infection in the army itself, carried out almost 100% vaccination of personnel, this made it possible to avoid the mass spread of the disease, protect the life and health of military personnel and thereby guarantee high combat readiness of units and formations,” Putin said.
February 10, 2022: 20-year-old military cadet paralyzed by Sputnik V injection
In early February, Nakanune.ru reported on the story of military cadet Kirill Bespalko, who could no longer walk after being injected with Sputnik V:
After vaccination a year ago, the victim developed Guillain-Barré syndrome. Soon after the injection, he felt unwell, then his legs and internal organs began to fail. It was possible to save a life after the intervention of the capital's doctors. Doctors diagnosed Guillain-Barré syndrome.
Bespalko entered the Smolensk Air Defense Military Academy. At first, the doctors did not pay any attention to his condition at all, assuring him that everything was in order, although the patient could not even walk on his own. After being hospitalized in Moscow, the doctors said that a lot of time had been lost in Smolensk.
“I'm 20 years old, I still have my whole life ahead of me … Over the past 11 months I have been to several rehabilitation centers. I never thought that there were so many people with disabilities in our country. I am so offended that our government absolutely does not care about these ‘second-class’ people. No conditions have been created for these people and they are forced to simply exist,” Bezpalko wrote.
Naturally, the case of Bespalko was not covered in the federal media. But it is constantly stated that no one dies after vaccinations, and the side effects are the most harmless. Moreover, the Ministry of Health of the Russian Federation hid the results of clinical trials of vaccines, as they are "confidential and contain commercial secrets.”
And the publication of data on the number of deaths among those vaccinated against COVID-19 was called "inappropriate" by the department , because it could “cause a negative attitude towards vaccination.”
September 23, 2022: Russia’s official information portal confirms COVID vaccination is mandatory for mobilized residents
On September 23, Explain.ru published a page on its FAQ section titled: “Will it be mandatory to vaccinate everyone who is mobilized?”
Medical care for military personnel is a priority for the state. In accordance with the Decree of the Chief Sanitary Doctor of the Russian Ministry of Defense dated June 18, 2021 No. 129, mandatory immunization applies to all categories of military personnel, including those called up for mobilization.
Vaccination is essential to prevent the occurrence of any epidemics. Therefore, it is mandatory for conscripts and military personnel and is carried out according to the vaccination calendar and according to epidemiological indications.
The official position of the Russian government’s official information portal is: “mandatory immunization applies to all categories of military personnel, including those called up for mobilization.” The answer cites the June 2021 decree making coronavirus vaccination mandatory for military personnel and MOD employees.
September 26, 2022: Rostov says mobilized residents will be subject to compulsory COVID vaccination
The government of the Rostov region announced on September 26 that mobilized citizens fall under the MOD’s compulsory vaccination decree.
The press service of the government of the Rostov region said that the mobilized military personnel will be vaccinated against coronavirus.
“In accordance with the Decree of the Chief Sanitary Doctor of the Russian Ministry of Defense dated June 18, 2021 No. 129, mandatory immunization applies to all categories of military personnel, including those called up for mobilization,” the government of the region specified.
September 28, 2022: The Russian government’s official mobilization hotline confirms unvaccinated personnel will be immunized while serving in the military
On September 28, journalists working for News.ru contacted a government-operated call center that deals with questions about partial mobilization. They had a question: Are mobilized Russian who haven’t been vaccinated against COVID exempt from military service?
A citizen's lack of vaccination against COVID-19 is not a basis for exemption from partial mobilization or a deferment, NEWS.ru was told on the 122 hotline. Those not vaccinated against coronavirus will be vaccinated in military units.
It is noted that in accordance with the decree of the chief sanitary doctor of the Ministry of Defense dated June 18, 2021 No. 129, mandatory immunization applies to all categories of military personnel. These include those called up as part of partial mobilization.
The call center added that vaccination is necessary to prevent epidemics. Therefore, it is mandatory for mobilized people to be vaccinated against coronavirus. If they aren’t immunized, vaccination will be carried out in a military unit.
September 29, 2022: Tatarstan to open “vaccination points” for mobilized residents after consulting with Russian MOD
Tatarstan announced on September 29 that vaccination points for mobilized personnel were being organized.
Immunization against influenza, coronavirus and other diseases is planned at these vaccination points.
“Discussions with the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation [concerning vaccination] have already been held,” the region’s deputy minister of health said.
September 30, 2022: Russia’s Independent Association of Physicians publishes open letter demanding end to compulsory vaccination for military personnel
On September 30, the Independent Association of Physicians published two open letters—one addressed to Vladimir Putin, the other appealing to Shoigu.
Some excerpts from the letter to Putin:
During the unfavorable epidemiological situation, citizens have been subjected to mandatory vaccination, and those who refuse medical intervention have been suspended from work. What will happen to mobilized citizens who refuse immunization? Will they be returned home or will their constitutional rights be grossly violated?
It is well known that during the Second World War in Nazi concentration camps, Nazi doctors conducted medical experiments on people, i.e. performed medical intervention against the will of the person. How will modern coercion, if the mobilized have no choice, differ from these crimes without a statute of limitations? […]
Considering all of the above, in the current difficult situation, compulsory vaccination of mobilized citizens, in our opinion, looks like madness, like a betrayal. […]
Vladimir Vladimirovich! As President of the Russian Federation and Supreme Commander-in-Chief, you personally bear full responsibility for the health and life of the citizens of the Russian Federation mobilized and called up for military service. We demand to stop vaccination against coronavirus infection of the military and other groups of citizens, as well as to organize a full-scale investigation of the vaccination…
In July 2021, the same group of physicians wrote to various ministries and federal organizations asking for the composition of Sputnik V, as well as information about deaths among fully vaccinated Russians. Their inquiries were stonewalled.
They also compiled a list of more than 1,000 deaths linked to Sputnik V and other Russian COVID vaccines, which you can view here. The Russian government has no publicly available data on post-vaccination complications. In January, Russian authorities shut down a website that tracks vaccine-linked deaths in the country.
October 7, 2022: “As far as I know, the decree on vaccination against COVID-19 for the troops is still in effect”
In an October 7 interview with Radio Sputnik, Fedot Tumusov, First Deputy Chairman of the State Duma Committee on Health Protection, confirmed that compulsory COVID vaccination for all military personnel—including mobilized citizens—was still in place.
"As far as I know, the decree on vaccination against COVID-19 for the troops is still in effect … I think that it is necessary to vaccinate and revaccinate those who were mobilized and the rest of the military,” the Duma deputy said.
“Coverage” from UK Column
UK Column ran a segment on October 7 which portrayed compulsory vaccination in the Russian military as a “hoax.” [Starts at around 26:40].
Vanessa Beeley cites two experts that claim that everything that we just documented above is untrue and doesn’t exist:
Thomas Röper, who boldly claimed vaccination is entirely voluntary for all Russians (except doctors). He cites a one-sentence statement he allegedly got from his “direct line” at the Ministry of Defense—this unnamed MOD official purportedly told Röper vaccination is entirely voluntary. That’s huge news that directly contradicts everything that has happened inside Russia over the last two years. But that’s neither here nor there—where’s the official MOD statement about vaccination being totally voluntary? Can’t find it. Please send.
The second enlightening fact-check is from “Aussie Cossack”, who, uh….. we’ll make a transcript for you:
Aussie Cossack, in his own words, with comments from Edward in [brackets]:
Guys, share this video—very quick. Putin is not doing mandatory injections for his military.
[What? He … already did though? Are you denying the Russian MOD doesn’t have compulsory vaccination? — Edward]
That’s just a fake to try to convince the anti-vaxxers to go against Russia.
[Or maybe some of us just don’t like having Russians (including members of our extended family) subjected to coercive injections with an unproven genetic experiment? — Edward]
Beware of the mainstream media fake lefty woke bullshit tactics.
[Translation: “Beware the official statements from Russian government information sources” — Edward]
I’m in contact with troops, with soldiers, with military priests, with officers. There’s no mandatory vaccination when they’re in the army.
[“There’s no mandatory vaccination when they’re in the army” ………………………….. — Edward]
Do you think Russia really cares about mandatory vax at the moment? They’re doing work, they’re doing bizzo, you know? It’s kicked off over there.
So that’s just fake news bullshit, you know?
[Razor-sharp analysis, UK Column. Thank you for making the world a more informative place — Edward]
Questions for UK Column:
Why was I not given the opportunity to defend my reporting on your program?
When reporting on other stories, does UK Column accept one-line statements from unnamed sources (Röper’s “contact” at the MOD)—statements that directly contradict official government information—as newsworthy or authoritative?
“There’s no mandatory vaccination when they’re in the army” — UK Column backs this claim? Yes or no?
Has the Russian government stated that mobilized citizens fall under the MOD’s compulsory COVID vaccination decree? Yes or no?
Is COVID vaccination voluntary in Russia (“excluding doctors”)? Yes or no?
I look forward to hearing from you, UK Column.
Have a relaxing Saturday, and stay away from the HOAXES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!111111