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Tag: COVID-19

Russia at war with COVID-19, again!

Many Russians have refused to get vaccinated for COVID-19. Several factors explain this. First, people do not trust the authorities or the Russian vaccine. Second, the pandemic is now considered history by many who see no need to get vaccinated. Third, disinformation has created a lot of uncertainty surrounding the vaccine.

In early July 2021 a new wave of COVID-19 hit Russia. This time it came in the form of the more transmissible Delta variant. As a result, Russia began reporting new infections and the largest number of deaths (nearly 800 per day in early August) since the beginning of the pandemic in March last year. At the same time, vaccination rates have remained extremely low, especially when compared to countries in the European Union and the United States. In fact, Russia is the only vaccine producing country with such low vaccination rates. A mere 19 per cent of Russians have gotten fully vaccinated since December 2020.

September 12, 2021 - Agnieszka Legucka

COVID-19 is changing our lives, but not the old masters

An interview with Prof. Dr. Klaus Albrecht Schröder, the long serving director of the Albertina Museum in Vienna. Interviewers: Bartosz Panek and Jarosław Kociszewski.

July 19, 2021 - Bartosz Panek Jarosław Kociszewski Klaus Albrecht Schröder

Russia’s vaccine curse

The Sputnik V vaccine was an incredible achievement for Russian science. The measure of success however, will depend on the ability to vaccinate a majority of the Russian population in order to reach herd immunity.

July 14, 2021 - Joshua Kroeker

Nowhere to hurry?

The low rates of immunisation against COVID-19 in Ukraine can be explained by certain errors in the organisation of the process and the chaos on the ground. However, the main problem remains a lack of vaccine supplies.

As of mid-May, Ukraine has the lowest COVID-19 vaccination rates in Europe – a mere 2.2 per cent of the country’s population has received the first dose of the vaccine. To compare at the time of the writing of this text, neighbouring Poland has reached 31 per cent while Hungary 49 per cent. At the current pace, Ukraine’s Healthcare Centre estimates that it will take five years to vaccinate 60 per cent of the population with at least one dose.

June 23, 2021 - Victoria Guerra

Odesa’s growing mismanagement

Odesa has faced many challenges in recent years. However, the ongoing pandemic and the reduction of land available for construction have brought the issue of ineffective management back. It is linked to the lack of an adequate response from the authorities as well as corruption.

On Saturday morning, several dozen people picketed the construction of an alleged yacht club and residential complex being built on the sea coast in Odesa. The protests were led by Vitaliy Ustimenko, an activist from Odesa who is the leader of a grassroots organisation called the AutoMaidan. “We will not allow dumb and insolent oxen capture the sea coast of Odesa,” Ustimenko said as he was speaking into a microphone.

June 23, 2021 - Maxym Przybyszewski

Streamlining soft power

Over the last five to seven years, there has been a growing understanding in the West that engagement in the post-Soviet area needs to be differentiated. As much as we need to keep communication channels open in order to prevent the emergence of new divisive blocs, we must not forget about our values and what stands behind them. Therein lies the potential to build, to improve and to unite. A positive agenda is all the more important given what the COVID-19 pandemic has revealed.

We will all remember 2020 as the year when the COVID-19 pandemic arrived. The rapid spread of the virus brought significant changes to our lives: closed borders, businesses closing and limited social interactions. More importantly, it forced us to rethink the present and the future – an exercise that is increasingly needed as the scale of challenges continues to overwhelm us. At the dawn of 2021, the world’s attention has been drawn to the first steps to sort things out – namely, the vaccination process.

June 23, 2021 - Miłosz Zieliński

Hungary’s friends in need

When the first three cases of COVID-19 were registered in Hungary in March 2020, the government instituted a state of emergency and imposed restrictions that could still be in place this summer. At that time the Hungarian authorities almost immediately followed other countries in their fight against the virus; first by purchasing, independent of the EU, personal protection gear and later, non-EU approved vaccines.

Hungary has used the pandemic to convince the European Union and its own citizens that in difficult situations there is no point counting on EU institutions. Only partners from the East (mainly China and Russia) are reliable. These are real friends indeed. The sequence of priority (China being first) is not accidental either. It was from China that Hungary received an almost uninterrupted supply of personal protective gear. Deliveries, which arrived on board WizzAir planes (Hungary’s low-cost airline), were welcomed by senior officials at Budapest’s airport, including the minister of foreign affairs, Péter Szijjártó.

June 23, 2021 - Dominik Héjj

A leaked phone call reveals the potential partnership Israel and Estonia could establish

The ‘start-up nation’ and ‘e-Estonia’ have much in common when it comes to digital innovation, cybersecurity and their identities.

June 18, 2021 - Daniel Frishtik

Zenit 36 – COVID-19. Can football help defeat the Coronavirus?

For fans of the reigning Russian champions, Zenit St. Petersburg, football can often seem more important than life and death. Undeterred by the growing spread of COVID-19, in March 2020, Zenit’s Gazprom Arena was one of the only places in Europe where it was still possible to watch live sports. The club’s supporters took full advantage of this, packing the stadium to capacity for their side’s 7-1 thrashing of FC Ural. “We’re all gonna die, we’re all gonna die,” they chanted gleefully, as the rest of the world closed down around them in a desperate attempt to contain the virus.

April 6, 2021 - Michael Cole

Image of ‘digital Baltics’ cracks under weight of pandemic

Despite being lauded as a digital posterchild, Estonia’s e-governance fell short during the COVID-19 crisis. Its Baltic neighbours, Latvia and Lithuania, fared no better.

March 11, 2021 - Keegan McBride

The Eastern Partnership enters a new decade

Despite all the input from numerous stakeholders, much remains to be seen in the future of the Eastern Partnership. The region has seen less than an ideal start to the new decade due to the COVID-19 pandemic and its multi-level implications for the EU and EaP countries.

If 2019 was dedicated to the tenth anniversary of the European Union’s Eastern Partnership (or EaP), 2020 has an intriguing question at its core: where to go next? This question loomed over the EU and decision-makers, state officials. The policy details of this question will stay with us until at least the next EaP summit in March 2021.

November 16, 2020 - Pavel Havlíček

Coronavirus pandemic seriously challenges Russian economy

A combination of socio-economic factors observed in Russia not only indicates that the impact of the coronavirus crisis on the country's economy will be profound, but that the recovery might take longer than it appears today. Much will depend on the authorities’ readiness to support household incomes and business activity through accumulated reserves and borrowings.

Russia has approached the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic with the economy not in great condition. Back in 2010-2012 the Russian economy was growing faster than the world economy. Yet since then, its global share has fallen by about one-fifth. In 2014, following the events in Ukraine, the Russian economy suffered a double blow as a result of lower oil prices and the impact of sanctions imposed on it by the United States, the European Union and a number of other countries.

September 7, 2020 - Oleg Buklemishev

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