"I believe we are facing an evil that has no equal in human history"
Your humble Moscow correspondent shares his thoughts about COVID Russia with The Unz Review
We have been reaching out to prominent voices across indy media, in hopes of starting a conversation about what is happening here in Russia. The great Mike Whitney, who is currently doing amazing work at The Unz Review, very graciously offered to interview us. Below we have republished the interview. Thank you again, Mike!
Question 1– I was under the impression that Putin opposed forced vaccination, but you say Russians are being coerced into getting jabbed. How does that work? Are the local governors acting unilaterally and imposing vaccine mandates behind Putin’s back or is there something else going on?
Riley Waggaman– Putin’s position on compulsory vaccination has arguably evolved over time. In May, he described such policies as “counterproductive.” Then, in early June, he said the vaccine would be available to anyone who “wants” it—while stressing authorities must do a better job of “clarifying the need” to get jabbed. Notably, he openly mocked some of the incentives (“free beer and sausage”) being used at the time by Western governments to entice people to roll up their sleeves. Two months later, Russia’s president argued vaccination should remain voluntary, while stipulating it was now “necessary” to create “different kinds of incentives” to increase uptake.
Whatever Putin’s personal views on mandatory vaccination may be, the reality is that Russia’s capital introduced the country’s first compulsory vaccination policy in mid-June, which required various business sectors to meet a 60% vaccination quota among employees. Workers who refused the shot were at risk of being suspended indefinitely without pay (or, in layman’s terms, “being fired”). Many other regions followed suit with similar (and even more stringent) mandates.
After the State Duma elections in late September, Russia’s regions began mass adopting vaccine mandates as well as QR-coded “health” passes. All 85 federal subjects of the Russian Federation now have compulsory vaccination rules (some more strict than others). For example, in Leningrad Oblast, all state, municipal and private organizations must ensure 100% of employees are fully vaccinated, or have a medical exemption or proof of prior infection in the last six months. Hold-outs will need to be tested every 72 hours. Do not be fooled by the loopholes: the same region ordered certain sectors to vaccinate 80% of their employees by September. The same strategy of incrementalism is being employed across Russia. Some parts of the country are even denying routine medical care to those without a QR code. One region recently announced that in four districts, all unvaccinated people would have to self-isolate—an “Austria-style” lockdown (which was actually inspired by a Tatarstan-style lockdown). In St. Petersburg and several other parts of the country, vaccination is now compulsory for all people over the age of 60.
Russia is now set to implement a nationwide QR code system to be used for nearly all aspects of “normal life.” Assuming the legislation passes the State Duma, these society-transforming restrictions—which will deprive the unvaccinated of freedom of movement and commerce, essentially making them second-class citizens—will come into force in February.
Are Russia’s regions acting against the wishes of the Kremlin as they tighten the screws on compulsory vaccination? Actually, all available evidence suggests quite the opposite. Presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on October 7 that “any measures that can encourage more people to get vaccinated are good.” A week later, Peskov accused unvaccinated Russians (the majority of the country) of making an “irresponsible” choice that “kills.” The Kremlin has been spouting this kind of puzzling, inflammatory rhetoric for months. On June 17, one day after Moscow announced its mandatory inoculation regime, Putin’s spokesman explained that the “principle” of non-obligatory vaccination “generally remains,” but Russians are not proactive enough about getting the shot. A day later, Anna Popova, the head of Russia’s consumer rights protection and human wellbeing agency (Rospotrebnadzor), described compulsory immunization as a “new tool” that can be utilized as the government sees fit.
Popova recently stated COVID restrictions will only end after “everyone” is vaccinated. With more than 50% of Russian adults still unvaccinated nearly a year after the country’s mass inoculation program began, how does the Russian government intend to make this happen?
Question 2– I’ve read quite a bit about the four main vaccines in the West, but know next to nothing about the Russian vaccines. Can you bring us up to speed on these injections? In particular, we’d like to know whether they use the same experimental “gene-based” technology that is employed by Pfizer, Moderna, J&J and AZ?
Riley Waggaman– There are several Russian COVID vaccines. Sputnik V, developed by the ministry of health’s Gamaleya Center, is by far the most commonly used drug, and so it’s the one that deserves the most scrutiny. Sputnik V is based on Gamaleya’s human adenovirus vector platform (Ad26 and Ad5), which is designed to transport genetic material into cells. If you examine the patent for Gamaleya’s influenza shot (which is posted on Sputnik V’s official website), the technology now being used for Sputnik V is openly referred to as a “genetic vaccine.”… Interestingly, Gamaleya’s director, Alexander Gintsburg, said there are no “significant” differences between Sputnik V and AstraZeneca’s vaccine.
A common claim made by Russian officials and the media is that there is no reason to worry about Sputnik V’s long-term safety because it is based on Gamaleya’s “proven” human adenovirus platform. The problem with this argument is that before Sputnik V, Gamaleya had repeatedly failed to bring a “genetic vaccine” to market. One attempt resulted in an embezzlement scandal, while other prototypes were never submitted for formal approval—suggesting they lacked the necessary safety and efficacy data to get the greenlight from regulators.
In terms of safety, how does Sputnik V’s stack up against Pfizer’s shot and other mRNA vaccines? It’s difficult to say. Russia does not have a VAERS-like database for reporting suspected adverse events among the general public. In fact, there is no regularly updated, publicly available data on any post-vaccination complications in Russia. It seems the Russian government’s position is that they do not exist. But doctors and lawmakers tell a different story, one supported by an informal database of suspected vaccine-linked deaths. Undeterred, authorities have compared these concerned citizens to “terrorists” and are now threatening “anti-vax” doctors with fines and even prison time, in essence making any medical professional who questions the vaccine a suspected criminal in the eyes of the Russian government.
There is another, equally alarming element to the Sputnik-mRNA vaccine comparison. There is now a huge body of evidence showing mRNA vaccines can cause serious side effects, and even death. But Sputnik V’s own developers openly support using Pfizer’s shot in Russia. Gamaleya’s Dmitry Shcheblyakov, who helped create Russia’s flagship jab, recently claimed there are clear “advantages” to mixing Sputnik V with “different vaccines made using different technologies.” Harvard-educated ex-Goldman Sachs banker Kirill Dmitriev, head of the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), which provides financing for Sputnik V, announced last month that joint research with Pfizer was already underway, and expressed confidence that a Sputnik/Pfizer cocktail will be a “very successful combination.” Similar “joint research” is reportedly being conducted with Moderna.
There are also questions about who, or what, is actually behind Sputnik V. In May 2020, Russia’s largest bank, Sberbank, created a subsidiary—Immunotechnology LLC—to help “transfer technology” related to the vaccine. The CEO of Sberbank, Herman Gref, is part of JP Morgan’s International Council and is also a member of the World Economic Forum’s board of trustees. Gref claims he got the vaccine in April 2020—which would make him one of the first people in the world to be injected with Sputnik V (in fact, months before it was even known as “Sputnik V”).
As Russians become increasingly worried about the “QR-ization” of their country, it’s worth noting that Sberbank is developing a QR code-based payment system, while Gref has been toying with the idea of creating a “Sbercoin” digital currency in partnership with JP Morgan.
Question 3– Your answer is so far-reaching, I’m not sure how to follow it up. First, you confirm that Sputnik V is a “genetic vaccine” which suggests that the risks of bleeding, blood clots and autoimmunity are the same in Russia as they are the US. Then, you say there is a connection between the creator of the Russian vaccine and Pfizer as well as with some “Harvard-educated ex-Goldman Sachs banker” whose organization “provides financing for Sputnik V”. Finally, you suggest that the funding for the vaccine operation may come from the “CEO of Sberbank, Herman Gref, is part of JP Morgan’s International Council and is also a member of the World Economic Forum’s board of trustees.”
Your answer underscores the suspicion that these vaccines are the cornerstone of a much larger project aimed at restructuring the global economy and, perhaps, reducing the world’s population. Where does Bill Gates fit into the picture or does he??
Riley Waggaman– Gates definitely fits into the picture. Russia’s former health minister, Veronika Skvortsova, is a board member of the Global Preparedness Monitoring Board (GPMB). Created by the World Health Organization and World Bank, the GPMB has received generous funding from Gates (who is also a top contributor to the WHO, of course). Guess who else is on GPMB’s board? Anthony Fauci, as well as Chris Elias, President of the Bill & Melinda Gates’ Global Development Program. As RFK Jr. detailed in his newly released book, GPMB serves as
the real-life authoritative collective for imposing rules during the upcoming pandemic. This so-called “independent” monitoring and accountability body’s purpose was to validate the imposition of police state controls by global and local political leaders and technocrats, endorsing their efforts to take the kind of harsh actions that Gates’s simulation modeled: subduing resistance, ruthlessly censoring dissent, isolating the healthy, collapsing economies, and compelling vaccination during a projected worldwide health crises.
In June 2019, about twenty weeks before the start of the COVID pandemic, Dr. Michael Ryan, executive director of the WHO’s health emergencies program, summarized the conclusions of GPMB’s pandemic report, warning that “we are entering a new phase of high impact epidemics” that would constitute “a new normal” where governments worldwide would strengthen control and restrict the mobility of citizens.
Does any of that sound familiar?
In January 2020, just a few months before the world was turned upside down by COVID lockdowns and restrictions, Skvortsova resigned as Russia’s health minister as part of a shake-up of Putin’s cabinet. A week later she was appointed the head of Russia’s federal biomedical agency (FMBA). As head of the FMBA, she played an integral role in the early days of Russia’s COVID response, and later produced data showing Moscow had been overwhelmed by the “Delta strain”. Her findings provided some much-needed “science” to justify the capital’s highly unpopular compulsory vaccine mandate. As health minister, Skvortsova presided over a years-long data manipulation scandal involving fraudulent mortality rates. The fraud was so blatant that the Russian government even admitted that their books were cooked (the country’s regional governors were blamed and thrown under the bus by Dmitry Medvedev).
As for “COVID-triggered” economic restructuring: the Russian government has openly embraced the World Economic Forum’s Fourth Industrial Revolution. In October, the Russian government and the WEF signed a memorandum on the establishment of a Center for the Fourth Industrial Revolution in Russia. Russia has already adopted a law allowing for “experimental legal regimes” to allow corporations and institutions to deploy AI and robots into the economy, without being encumbered by regulatory red tape. Returning to Gref and his digital Sbercoin: Russia’s central bank is already planning to test-run a digital ruble that, among other nifty features, could be used to restrict purchases.
Many are probably aware of UN Agenda 2030. Well, there is a Moscow 2030 plan, and it’s quite extraordinary. The blueprint for Russia’s capital calls for “genetic passports” that can be used to administer “gene therapies.” A document envisioning life in Moscow by the end of the decade also talks about “implanted medical digital devices” that can be used by insurance companies to calculate health insurance payments. It seems these ambitions won’t be limited to Moscow. In the last half of 2019, Russia’s State Duma commissioned a report to investigate the “conflict-free development” of a “new generation of technologies” (such as “genome editing”) in order to create a “new type of society.”
Question 4– I have a hard time believing that a Russian patriot, like Vladimir Putin, would go along with– what amounts to– a takeover of the country by foreign elites, the banker Mafia and the global drug cartel. Is he oblivious to what is going on right beneath his nose or are other factors at play?
Riley Waggaman– Wherever Putin stands on this, surely he must realize that the Russian government is pursuing hugely unpopular policies, first with coercive vaccination, and now with the proposed QR-ization of the country. State Duma Deputy Deputy Mikhail Delyagin recently warned that the adoption of a nationwide digital health “ausweis” would amount to a “coup d’état” that would hand external management of the country over to “Big Tech and Big Pharma through the WHO.” The reason I bring this up is because, at least as I understood his comments, Delyagin does not believe Putin is directly involved in what is happening and fears the Russian president will end up taking the blame for any social and/or economic chaos that may lie ahead (Delyagin: “When these feral oligarchs come to power, when this feral medical mafia comes to power, Russia will not exist! There will be no one to defend Russia! If Putin signs this law, who will defend Putin? I’ll name two dozen, but what about the rest? Help yourself, protect yourself and Russia from a coup d’état!”). If this is the case, it is imperative to stop these dangerous, destabilizing policies before they spark serious upheaval in Russia.
In truth, it’s hard to argue Putin is a clear ally in the fight against experimental drug mandates or the World Economic Forum’s twisted vision for the future. In January, the Russian president gave an address at the WEF in which he called for “expanding the scale of [COVID] testing and vaccinations” around the world. He went on to state that a “high-quality structure” must be created to help overcome “social imbalances” that have been exacerbated by the pandemic. “State budgets and central banks” should play a “key role” in quickly restoring the global and national economies, Putin explained.
Isn’t this just a fancy way of saying Build Back Better?
We desperately need open, frank dialogue about what is happening in Russia right now–discussions which are conspicuously absent in the vast majority of “indy media.” I don’t pretend to have all the answers, but I’m shocked that so few seem to be asking any questions.
Question 5– In Russia, we see the same red flags that are appearing across the West; coerced vaccinations, suspension of civil rights, and the steady slide towards authoritarianism. To what extent do you see these developments as a primordial struggle between good and evil?
Riley Waggaman– I am often reminded of that unsettling line from Alexis de Tocqueville: “I go back from age to age up to the remotest antiquity; but I find no parallel to what is occurring before my eyes: as the past has ceased to throw its light upon the future, the mind of man wanders in obscurity.”
With each passing day it seems we are being forcibly severed from our own past. We are being “retrained” to accept a new civilizational model. It’s happening at the local, regional, national and global level. It is tearing apart families.
I do believe we are facing an evil that has no equal in human history. We are in completely unchartered and extremely dangerous territory. Still, there are lessons, and warnings, we can take from history. The worldwide introduction of digital health passes bears a striking resemblance to the global adoption of international passports after WW1. Your passport is a WW1 relic. It was supposed to be a temporary document to control the flow of refugees and keep out enemy spies. It wasn’t so temporary though, was it?
The Austrian novelist Stefan Zweig wrote at length about what this new system of control meant for those who had lived in pre-war Europe: “Human beings were made to feel that they were objects and not subjects, that nothing was their right but everything merely a favor by official grace. They were codified, registered, numbered, stamped… The humiliations which once had been devised with criminals alone in mind now were imposed upon the traveler, before and during every journey.”
He added: “Always I had to think of what an exiled Russian had said to me years ago: ‘Formerly man had only a body and a soul. Now he needs a passport as well for without it he will not be treated like a human being.’”
Now we are all suspected biohazards, on top of being potential criminals. At this point, are the “unjabbed masses” even viewed as human beings in the eyes of our global overlords? Even those who dutifully got their booster shot must now realize their freedoms will not be returned to them. That’s not how it works. Duma Deputy Delyagin touched on this in his video appeal to Russians:
“They are already talking to us in the same way they usually talk to animals. The state now speaks so boorishly to the people. This is how they talk to the population of the occupied territories, who for some reason do not understand that they are occupied.”
A remarkable observation, one that applies to almost the entire world.
I have a young son. He is a Russian citizen. I would like him to be treated as a human being.
The situation is extremely grim. Personally, I believe there is a deep spiritual element at play. How do we stop this profound evil?
Riley Waggaman is a Moscow-based writer. He worked for Russia Insider, RT, and Press TV. He contributes to Russian-Faith.com and Anti-Empire.com. He writes regularly about Russia on his Substack account: Edwardslavsquat.substack.com
Many thanks for this excellent recap of what has been happening in Russia. Although, this is my first comment on your substack, I just wanted to let you know that I have been taking the time to read most of your articles and have found them an invaluable resource, so please keep it up!
As for the situation at hand, like other commenters, I find Putin's actions baffling and very disturbing. For over a year and a half, the Russian state's response to the so-called pandemic seemed to be as reasonable as could probably be hoped for given the geopolitical circumstances. Then, seemingly out of nowhere, all hell broke loose.
Recall the first, failed attempt at mass vaccination and QR-codes began in mid-June when Putin was out of the country meeting with Biden. Many claimed that Biden somehow coerced or threatened Putin into these actions, but clearly that was not possible seeing as they were being implemented before he even returned to Moscow. In truth, I suspect that Putin was "persuaded" into joining the WEF agenda in early June during his annual meeting at the Valdai club.
The critical question to ask, in my mind, is what made Putin change his mind into going along with the Globalist plan? It's almost impossible to believe that he was bribed or threatened personally, for if these were potential tools which could be used against him, the West would have already employed them many years ago. Also, the notion of Putin directly acquiescing to a betrayal of the Russian people for whatever reason is also difficult to swallow given his record over the last couple of decades.
I suspect that Putin found himself under enormous pressure from both the West, but, perhaps more importantly, from his Chinese so-called allies as well. Essentially, I could picture the Globalists at the Valdai Club telling Putin, "implement our plan or we cut Russia off completely from outside economic activity in both the West and the East." Granted, of all the nations on the planet, Russia is probably best suited to becoming an autarky, but Putin has always eschewed direct confrontation. And, so he capitulated to the demands.
Why do I suspect the Chinese were involved in pressuring Russia? I base this speculation on the fact that this fall Putin made some pretty transparent excuses to avoid attending the conference in Dushanbe were he was slated to meet with Xi. Putin first claimed he was sick (with COVID, I believe), sent Lukashenko in his stead, and then, instead of convalescing as expected, took a wilderness vacation during the time of the conference itself. Seeing that Putin was going to be a no-show, Xi also cancelled his appearance in Dushanbe. So, not only did Putin not wish to speak to Xi, he, in fact, showed highly uncharacteristic, open contempt for his Chinese 'friend' by taking the vacation instead.
Still, we are left to circle back (to borrow a Psaki-ism) to why Putin is allowing these vaccinations and QR-codes to be instituted at such a maniacal pace? Is it possible that he is biding time waiting to employ one of his patented Judo-moves against the Globalists? Perhaps, for example, once all this social-credit and tracking technology is implemented in Russia by the various WEF cronies, Putin simply turns around, gently nudges the Globalists to the curb and appropriates the system to further strengthen the Russian state itself? It's a possible plan.
Still, the main fly in the ointment of any such scheme would be the enormous damage being done to the health of the Russian people by the injections. But, maybe being a hard-nosed Russian, Putin feels there is no choice but to take the casualties? After all, Russia has been through more than a few horrific disasters and still survived. Still, ascribing such 'clever plans' and 11-D chess gambits to any world leader oftentimes feels far-fetched. Usually what is going on is exactly what it looks like.
This is very enlightening. Not being in Russia many of these things were unknown to me. But I always suspected Putin was a Globalist stooly. There aren't many political establishments that haven't been captured at this point. That's why I no longer give any thought to the prospect of nuclear war.