Moscow mayor begrudgingly cancels COVID extortion racket
Now, muzhik, rejoice
Terrific news, muzhik. Mighty Virus Khan Sergey Sobyanin—colloquially known as the “Mayor of Moscow”—has declared Virus Amnesty. This means that if you were fined by his gang of extortionists for not wearing a face diaper or disposable plastic gloves (lol), you’ll get your money back. Maybe.
The total amount of thieved rubles that (theoretically) could be returned? 13.6 billion rubles ($225 million). That’s a lot of extortion!
As RIA Novosti reported, Moscow authorities will stop collecting unpaid fines for violating coronavirus restrictions, and the city will also compensate residents, individual entrepreneurs and legal entities for already paid penalties. But only if you can provide a receipt showing you acquiesced to Sobyanin’s extortion scheme (which of course 90% of Muscovites burned/threw away).
But let’s bypass RIA’s report; let’s go straight to the original source. Behold Sobyanin’s “amnesty” announcement, full of compunction and profound regret:
For two years, the majority of citizens conscientiously observed these forced restrictions [LOL, WRONG!]. And if there were violations, they paid a fine. And for this, many thanks to business and Muscovites [FOR SUBMITTING TO MY EXTORTION RACKET]. Without your sincere support [LOL], it would have been much more difficult to cope with the pandemic [LOL].
Now masks and social distancing rules have been canceled, but the authorities continue to collect previously imposed fines, including in court.
In my opinion, this should not be done. Administrative penalties have made a significant contribution to solving the problem of saving the health and life of Muscovites, and helped fight the Covid infection [REEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE].
But today that danger has passed. Today there are other challenges and problems. We see a drop in real incomes of citizens [WHAT! IMPOSSIBLE!]. Therefore, I decided to declare a Covid amnesty [THANK YOU, YOUR HOLINESS, KHAN SOBYANIN THE MERCIFUL!].
To summarize: Thank you for obediently submitting to my extortion racket for two years, I apologize for absolutely nothing, I robbed you with pleasure, but I will now return your money because Russia is facing an unprecedented economic crisis due to literally 10,000 western sanctions.
To pretend that this has anything to do with Sobyanin “rethinking” his deep and profound love for Permanent Biosecurity is, uh, a very creative interpretation.
Moscow (and the rest of Russia) is marching towards a very serious economic crisis. Annual inflation accelerated to 17.83% in April, and the capital is at risk of losing 200,000 jobs. Virus-scamming will have to be put on hold. It’s a matter of survival—for Sobyanin.
Of course, the extortion refunds are welcome; we know many people, including close family members, who were robbed by Sobyanin’s Virus Thugs. But if you think that this is proof Sobyanin has seen the error of his ways, we would humbly suggest that maybe you are being a tad credulous.
Sobyanin is a compulsory clot-shot fanatic and should spend the rest of his life toiling in a Siberian goldmine.
Probably some of you are unaware of what this monster has engaged in for two years. We will remind you of one of his most famous exploits. Just read the below text, and then decide for yourself—does Sobyanin Care About Us?
Taking the Gloves Off
By the end of July, the situation with COVID-19 in Moscow had improved so much that Mayor Sergey Sobyanin decided residents would no longer be required to wear gloves while shopping or riding public transport. Dropping the rule would bring the city one step closer to a “return to normal life,” Sobyanin declared. (Curiously, he said almost the exact same thing when he issued the mandatory glove decree in May 2020: “We are not increasing restrictions, but, on the contrary, are taking a huge step towards returning to ordinary life.” Um, what?)
But for most Muscovites, “ordinary life” never went away: the glove rule had been almost universally ignored since its inception.
On May 14, 2021, a group of Moscow business leaders wrote a letter to Sobyanin noting that the “vast majority” of the city’s residents did not wear gloves. Describing the staggering level of noncompliance as a “mass phenomenon,” the letter begged the mayor to make masks and gloves voluntary, arguing that the rule was unenforceable.
The letter’s authors also pointed to the “lack of data on infection in the absence of gloves,” citing World Health Organization guidance which recommended regular hand-washing over glove use. In fact, the WHO warned that wearing gloves for extended periods could actually accelerate the spread of germs.
Meanwhile, businesses were incurring fines because they weren’t aggressively enforcing universally ignored rules that had no proven benefit.
The mayor rejected their appeal—likely because, according to him, nearly all residents were dutifully shielding their hands with protective plastic when required to do so. 70% of Muscovites were wearing gloves in the metro, according to an official estimate released in April 2021.
Besides, gloves were highly effective at protecting against coronavirus. One of Sobyanin’s deputies insisted during an interview in May that the requirement was saving lives.
“After all, masks, gloves [and social] distancing help save lives—this is already a proven fact,” Aleksey Nemeryuk, Sobyanin’s first deputy chief of staff, claimed.
After Sobyanin dropped the glove rule on July 30, Russia’s state-run news agency TASS interviewed a virologist who claimed wearing gloves did not affect the spread of coronavirus, and canceling their mandatory use in the summer was even beneficial.
“Due to the lack of gloves, there is no increase in the incidence in any region. Therefore, the abolition of [mandatory] wearing of gloves is not significant at the moment. On the contrary, it is very difficult to wear gloves in the summer,” the doctor told TASS. She added that especially during warmer months, gloves can lead to skin problems.
Like the Delta strain, it seems disposable gloves have constantly changing properties. One day they’re life-savers, the next day they’re incubators of disease.
But unlike the Delta strain, determining the frequency of glove use doesn’t require special lab analysis. There is no way to independently verify case numbers or hospitalizations—providing a certain amount of wiggle room for the Russian government’s impeccable statisticians—but there happens to be a reliable method of assessing whether gloves were commonly worn in the Moscow metro.
Sobyanin’s administration claimed that 70% of Moscow metro passengers were wearing gloves in April 2021. What does the photographic evidence show, though?
If this figure is accurate, photographs taken inside the city’s metro over the past year should confirm that a substantial number—if not a vast majority—of commuters were donning gloves. This should be especially true of any photos from April:
These photographs contain at least 30 pairs of visible hands in total. How many are gloved? One, maybe two? This is not what you would expect if the glove rule had been widely obeyed.
Below is a photograph from April 26, 2021 showing a metro employee checking for mask and glove compliance. Out of 6 people whose hands are clearly visible, only one passenger is wearing gloves—and you can see that he’s hurriedly putting them on as the enforcement officer approaches. Even when authorities were on the prowl, compliance was less than 17%.
And here’s Sobyanin at the opening of a new metro station on April 1, 2021, setting an example by not wearing gloves or a mask:
Sobyanin’s now-defunct glove regime is emblematic of the “public health” measures that have been imposed upon Russians (and people all over the world) since the arrival of COVID-19: it was a policy based on empty claims and reinforced by obscene assertions irreconcilable with observable reality.