VIF News Digest: International Developments (US, Europe and Russia), 1-15 April 2020
U.S. approves sale of missiles, torpedoes to India
14 April 2020

The U.S. State Department has approved two potential missile deals with India, for an estimated $92 million and $63 million, the State Department has said in a statement.

The first deal, for which Boeing is the contractor, is for ten AGM-84L Harpoon Block II air launched missiles and related equipment. These missiles can be fitted onto Boeing’s 8-PI (Poseidon Eight India) maritime patrol aircraft and are intended to enhance India’s capability in anti-surface warfare while defending its sea lanes.

The second deal, for $63 million and principally contracted with Raytheon Integrated Defense System, is for 16 MK 54 All Up Round Lightweight Torpedoes (LWT); three MK 54 Exercise Torpedoes (MK 54 LWT Kit procurement required); and related equipment. Also included are MK 54 spare parts; torpedo containers, two Recoverable Exercise Torpedoes (REXTORP) with containers and related equipment and support from the U.S. government and contractors.

The torpedoes are expected to enhance India’s anti-submarine warfare capability and can be used with the P-8I. Click here to read....

India Partially Lifts Export Ban on Potential Coronavirus Treatment after Trump Call

07 April 2020

India partially lifted a ban on the exports of a malaria drug after President Donald Trump sought supplies for the U.S., according to government officials with knowledge of the matter.

Exports of hydroxychloroquine and paracetamol will be allowed depending on availability of stock after meeting domestic requirements and existing orders, said the government officials, who asked not to be identified citing rules. Shipments will be restricted and permission will be on humanitarian ground, they added.

The spokesman for the trade ministry was not immediately available for comment.

Normally used to treat malaria, hydroxychloroquine yielded promising yet inconclusive results in a small coronavirus trial. While Trump has said the drug is safe, it carries significant side effects. China, Europe and South Korea recommend it as one of several treatments for Covid-19 patients, while India itself advocates health-care workers take the drug regularly as a preventive measure. Click here to read....

India-US ties stronger, says Modi as Trump thanks country for HCQ

09 April 2020

Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said that India-US partnership is stronger than ever in his response to US President Donald Trump's tweet thanking India on its decision to allow exports of anti-malaria drug Hydroxychloroquine. The drug is being experimentally used to fight Covid-19.

"Times like these bring friends closer. The India-US partnership is stronger than ever. India shall do everything possible to help humanity's fight against Covid-19. We shall win this," Modi tweeted on Thursday.

HCQ was on the top of the list of medicines that the US wanted India to supply to the country, despite the complete restriction placed on its exports by the Directorate General of Foreign Trade on April 4. Click here to read....

Coronavirus: Hydroxychloroquine consignment from India arrives in US after Trump's intervention

12 April 2020

A consignment of hydroxychloroquine from India arrived in the United States on Saturday; days after New Delhi lifted a ban on the export of the anti-malaria drug, seen as a possible cure for Covid-19, to the US and some other countries on humanitarian grounds.

Earlier this week, India at the request of President Donald Trump cleared the export of 35.82 lakh tablets of hydroxychloroquine to the US along with nine metric tons of active pharmaceutical ingredient or API required in the manufacturing of the drug.

"Supporting our partners in the fight against Covid-19, consignment of hydroxychloroquine from India arrived at Newark airport today," India's Ambassador to the US Taranjit Singh Sandhu tweeted.

Trump, during a phone call last week, asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to lift the hold on American order of the anti-malarial drug, of which India is the major producer. India, which manufactures 70 per cent of the world's supply of hydroxychloroquine, lifted the ban on April 7.

Hydroxychloroquine has been identified by the US Food and Drug Administration as a possible treatment for the Covid-19 and it is being tested on more than 1,500 coronavirus patients in New York. Click here to read....

US Domestic
Trump halts World Health Organization funding over handling of coronavirus outbreak

15 April 2020

President Donald Trump announced Tuesday he is halting funding to the World Health Organization while a review is conducted.

Trump said the review would cover the WHO's "role in severely mismanaging and covering up the spread of coronavirus."

Trump's announcement comes in the middle of the worst global pandemic in decades and as he angrily defends his own handling of the outbreak in the United States.

Amid swirling questions about whether he downplayed the crisis or ignored warnings from members of his administration about its potential severity, Trump has sought to assign blame elsewhere, including at the WHO and in the news media.

The US funds $400 million to $500 million to the WHO each year, Trump said, noting that China "contributes roughly $40 million."

"Had the WHO done its job to get medical experts into China to objectively assess the situation on the ground and to call out China's lack of transparency, the outbreak could have been contained at its source with very little death," Trump said. Click here to read....

Trump has the pulpit; governors wield the power

14 April 2020

Americans have been getting a serious civics lesson over the past month as they turn to Washington for answers to the coronavirus crisis — only to find out their state governors have far more control over what goes on in their daily lives.

State and local authorities are the ones making decisions about shutting down businesses and allocating medical equipment to hospitals.

It’s the system the country’s founders designed, though it seems anachronistic to many while a deadly disease pushes past all national and state boundaries.

“In our federal system, the federal government exists to support the actions of state and local governments,” said Thomas A. Birkland, an associate dean at North Carolina State University. “The federal government doesn’t run the fire department. The local governments run the fire department.”

In most cases, that also means the chief executive — a governor or, in some cases, a mayor — is wielding the power. Click here to read....

“It’s Hard to Stay Afloat”: Hope and Exhaustion in the Coronavirus Fight

15 April 2020

A woman and her husband are admitted to my ward; before the coronavirus, they were healthy, enjoying morning walks and evening cocktails. Now, while her breathing improves each day, his declines. By the end of the week, she is pacing the room, and he is on the brink of intubation.

Other couples go together. One evening, we transfer a woman in her eighties to hospice; her husband of fifty years joins her the next morning. His breathing is so laboured that he can barely speak, but, between gasps, from behind an oxygen mask, he tells me that he can’t live without her. I can’t work out whether the virus was merciful or merciless in taking them both.

Why does the virus cripple some lungs and not others? There’s so much we don’t yet know. Click here to read....

Trump’s Aggressive Advocacy of Malaria Drug for Treating Coronavirus Divides Medical Community

06 April 2020

President Trump made a rare appearance in the Situation Room on Sunday as his pandemic task force was meeting, determined to talk about the anti-malaria medicine that he has aggressively promoted lately as a treatment for the coronavirus.

Once again, according to a person briefed on the session, the experts warned against overselling a drug yet to be proved a safe remedy, particularly for heart patients. “Yes, the heart stuff,” Mr. Trump acknowledged. Then he headed out to the cameras to promote it anyway. “So what do I know?” he conceded to reporters at his daily briefing. “I’m not a doctor. But I have common sense.”

Day after day, the salesman turned president has encouraged coronavirus patients to try hydroxychloroquine with all of the enthusiasm of a real estate developer. The passing reference he makes to the possible dangers is usually overwhelmed by the full-throated endorsement. “What do you have to lose?” he asked five times on Sunday. Click here to read....

Virus Throws Millions More Out of Work, and Washington Struggles to Keep Pace

09 April 2020

When the federal government began rushing trillions of dollars of assistance to Americans crushed by the coronavirus pandemic, the hope was that some of the aid would allow businesses to keep workers on the payroll and cushion employees against job losses.

But so far, a staggering number of Americans — more than 16 million — have lost their jobs amid the outbreak. Businesses continue to fail as retailers, restaurants, nail salons and other companies across the country run out of cash and close up shop as their customers are forced to stay at home.

There is a growing agreement among many economists that the government’s efforts were too small and came too late in the fast-moving pandemic to prevent businesses from abandoning their workers. Federal agencies, working in a prescribed partnership with Wall Street, have proved ill equipped to move money quickly to the places it is needed most. Click here to read....

US Election News
Joe Biden leads Donald Trump by 8 points in new poll; majority believe US is in a recession

09 April 2020

Joe Biden holds an 8-point lead over President Donald Trump in a head-to-head match-up for president, according to a new poll from Quinnipiac University, as the former vice president moves from likely to presumptive Democratic nominee.

The poll, released Wednesday, found Biden is the top choice among 49% of registered voters and Trump the top choice of 41%. Biden is boosted by self-identified independent voters, who support him over Trump 44%-35%.

It's a slightly tighter race than when a Quinnipiac Poll in March found Biden ahead of Trump, 52% to 41%. The small shift comes as Trump's job approval rating has increased from 41% to 45% amid the coronavirus outbreak.

"It is a small bump, but we're seeing not a huge change though overall in this race," said Mary Snow, a polling analyst Quinnipiac, attributing the movement to the "rally around the flag" effect during the coronavirus crisis. Click here to read....

Sanders quits U.S. presidential race, setting up Biden battle with Trump

08 April 2020

Bernie Sanders, a democratic socialist whose progressive agenda pushed the Democratic Party sharply to the left, ended his White House campaign on Wednesday, clearing the way for a Nov. 3 election battle between former Vice President Joe Biden and Republican President Donald Trump.

Sanders, a onetime front-runner who promised to lead a grassroots political revolution into the White House, acknowledged he no longer had a path to victory after a string of decisive nominating contest losses to Biden but promised to work with his more moderate former rival to oust Trump.

The independent U.S. senator from Vermont said the coronavirus outbreak, which has taken him off the campaign trail and limited his ability to get his message out, required a broad response and urgent attention in Congress. Click here to read....

The Biden-Trump showdown begins at last

08 April 2020

The 2020 presidential general election has begun.

Joe Biden, who was Barack Obama’s vice president, will face off against President Donald Trump in November’s contest. The race between the two men in their 70s has long been expected but is now virtually guaranteed after Sen. Bernie Sanders exited from the Democratic primary contest, announcing Wednesday that he had suspended his campaign.

In some ways, the Trump-Biden general election has been long foretold.

Trump has never faced a serious primary threat, and Biden has been the leader in primary polls — with only brief exceptions — since he entered the Democratic primary nearly one year ago. He has been virtually assured to win the primary since his landslide victory on Super Tuesday early last month.

The likelihood of Biden becoming the president’s 2020 rival was illustrated during the president’s impeachment trial earlier this year. Click here to read....

Poll: Trump approval remains evenly split in face of national crisis

09 April 2020

Voters are evenly split in their views on President Donald Trump in light of the coronavirus crisis, according to a Fox News poll released Thursday.

The poll, based on interviews conducted from April 4 to 7, showed 49 percent of respondents approved of Trump, while 49 percent disapproved. Support for Trump and Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden also remains evenly split, with each receiving 42 percent support from respondents.

Those numbers come in contrast to a spate of polls released Wednesday that showed a general trend of disapproval toward the president. Polls conducted by Monmouth, POLITICO and Morning Consult, CNN and SSRS, and Quinnipiac University all showed more respondents saying they disapproved of the president, some with a difference of more than 5 percentage points.

The polls show Trump hasn't been able to rally nationwide support in the face of a major national crisis and that partisan splits still shape Americans' perceptions of the president. Click here to read....

How Democrats Won Big in Wisconsin

14 April 2020

On Monday evening, Wisconsin released the results from its controversial April 7th election, which took place amid poll closures and fear for the health and safety of voters during a pandemic. Joe Biden easily beat Bernie Sanders in the state’s Democratic Presidential primary. (Sanders, as was widely expected, suspended his campaign the day after the election.) The more surprising result was on the Wisconsin Supreme Court, where a progressive challenger, Jill Karofsky, defeated a Donald Trump-backed incumbent, Daniel Kelly, by more than ten percentage points. The court, which is expected to weigh in on at least one crucial voting-rights decision this year, is now split between four conservatives and three liberals.

Karofsky’s win was especially significant because, just a few days earlier, the state’s Supreme Court had played a central role in the conflict over whether to hold the election. On April 3rd, Wisconsin’s Democratic Governor, Tony Evers, called on the Republican state legislature to postpone the election. It refused, and Evers then invoked broad emergency powers to do so, but he was overruled by the state Supreme Court, and the United States Supreme Court blocked efforts to extend absentee voting. Many Democrats described Republicans’ insistence on holding the election as an effort at voter suppression. In Milwaukee, Wisconsin’s Democratic stronghold, only around three per cent of polling stations were open, owing to limited numbers of poll workers. Across the state, voters complained that they never received absentee ballots that they had requested. Click here to read....

International - Asia
US officials meet with Taliban leaders in Qatar

14 April 2020

Top U.S. officials met with leaders of the Afghan Taliban in Qatar’s capital Doha and discussed implementation of the peace agreement signed between Washington and the Taliban in February, the Taliban said Tuesday.

According to Suhail Shaheen, a spokesman for the Taliban's political office in Qatar, a Taliban delegation led by Mullah Baradar, deputy chief of the group and head of its political office, met late Monday with U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad and General Scott Miller, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan.

The meeting was hosted by Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani, Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister of Qatar.

"They talked about the complete implementation of the agreement as well as the delay in the release of prisoners," Shaheen said in a statement.

Violations of the agreement and other issues as well as ways to fully implement the agreement were also discussed, he added.

On Monday, the U.S. State Department issued a brief statement saying Khalilzad will meet with Taliban representatives to discuss current challenges in implementing the U.S.-Taliban Agreement. Click here to read....

$1 billion US aid cut to hit Afghan security force funds

06 April 2020

A planned $1 billion cut in the US aid to Afghanistan would come from funds for Afghan security forces, according to three US sources, a step experts said would undercut both Kabul’s ability to fight the Taliban and its leverage to negotiate a peace deal with them.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced the reduction on March 23 and threatened to slash the same amount next year to try to force Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and his political rival Abdullah Abdullah to end a feud that has helped stall US-led peacemaking efforts in Afghanistan.

After nearly 20 years of fighting the Taliban, the United States is looking for a way to extricate itself and to achieve peace between the US-backed government and the militant group, which controls more than 40 percent of Afghan territory. Click here to read....

US military asks for US$20 billion to counter Beijing’s influence in the Indo-Pacific

07 April 2020

United States military officials have requested an additional US$20 billion in funding from legislators to fortify the country’s naval, airborne and ground-based operations in the Indo-Pacific region, a sign of Washington’s intensifying efforts to counter Beijing’s military presence in the area.

The request by the Pentagon’s Indo-Pacific Command for funding, which would last through financial year 2026, was delivered to Congress last week.

“Without a valid and convincing conventional deterrent, China and Russia will be emboldened to take action in the region to supplant US interests,” read an executive summary of the request obtained by Breaking Defence, a military news outlet that first reported the move.

The request’s sweeping budgetary priorities include more air missile units, new radar warning systems, expanded training exercises and initiatives to strengthen the military capabilities of US allies. Under the proposal, some US$1.6 billion would be released for financial year 2021, with a further US$18.5 billion earmarked for financial years 2022-26. Click here to read....

US ambassador to South Korea is discussing plans to resign: Reuters

09 April 2020

U.S. Ambassador to South Korea Harry Harris has said privately that he does not plan to stay on beyond the November U.S. presidential election, regardless of whether President Donald Trump wins another term, five sources told Reuters.

Harris, a 40-year veteran of the U.S. Navy who started in Seoul in 2018 after Trump appointed him, has expressed increasing frustration with the tensions and drama of his tenure, the sources said, all speaking on condition of anonymity because of the diplomatic sensitivity of the issue.

"He has been wanting to stay only until November rather than serving in the second term even if Trump wins it," one source with direct knowledge of the issue said.

The U.S. State Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The U.S. Embassy in Seoul did not immediately respond to comment, nor did a close aide to Harris.

Harris' predecessors each served about three years and generally enjoyed good personal rapport with South Koreans. But his time in Seoul has been marked by increasing acrimony between the two long time allies. Click here to read....

I. Europe
Poland Moves to Force Its First Election by Mail Amid Lockdown, 6 April 2020

Poland’s ruling party is pushing ahead with a plan to force the nation to hold an election by mail for the first time ever, steamrolling over calls to delay the May 10 presidential ballot as the country remains in lockdown to combat the coronavirus pandemic. Click here to read.....

EU top scientist forced out in political row over Coronavirus, 8 April 2020

The president of the European Union's ERC scientific research council, Mauro Ferrari, has resigned after three months in the job with an attack on the EU's scientific governance and political operations. Click here to read....

The Scientific Council responded by releasing a statement. It noted that all 19 active members individually and unanimously requested that Mauro Ferrari resign from his position as ERC’s President owing to his lack of engagement with the ERC. Click here to read....

Visegrad States to Give Aid to Eastern Partnership Countries, 8 April 2020

Hungary, Poland, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic- the so-called Visegrad Four group of Central European countries-will launch a solidarity program for the six members of the European Union's Eastern Partnership (EaP) to help them fight the coronavirus outbreak.In an April 8 joint statement on the future of the Eastern Partnership, the four EU members said they will “launch an extraordinary 'V4EastSolidarity program' for the EaP countries" that would provide up to 250,000 euros in aid. Click here to read....

EU publishes roadmap to phase out coronavirus lockdowns, 15 April 2020

The EU Commission and Council jointly published a roadmap aiming to guide member states as they begin looking at strategies to lift the containment measures aimed at halting the coronavirus pandemic. Click here to read....

Commission and European Investment unlock €8 billion in finance for 100,000 small and medium-sized businesses, 6 April 2020

The European Commission has unlocked €1 billion from the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) that will serve as a guarantee to the European Investment Fund (EIF), part of the European Investment Bank Group. This will allow the EIF to issue special guarantees to incentivise banks and other lenders to provide liquidity to at least 100,000 European SMEs and small mid-cap companies hit by the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic, for an estimated available financing of €8 billion. Click here to read....

EU funds new joint research and industrial projects, 6 April 2020

The projects are financed respectively under the European Defence Industrial Development Programme (EDIDP), worth €500 million for 2019-2020, and the Preparatory Action on Defence Research (PADR), which has a budget of €90 million for 2018-2020. They are the precursor programmes of the fully-fledged European Defence Fund, which will foster an innovative and competitive defence industrial base and contribute to the EU's strategic autonomy. Click here to read....

Bank of England to directly finance extra government spending, 9 April 2020

The UK has become the first country to embrace the monetary financing of government to fund the immediate cost of fighting coronavirus, with the Bank of England to directly finance the state’s spending needs on a temporary basis. The move would allow the government to bypass the bond market until the Covid-19 pandemic subsides, financing unexpected costs such as the job retention scheme where bills will fall due at the end of April. Click here to read....

EU agrees €500bn rescue package, 10 April 2020

EU finance ministers have agreed a500billion euros rescue package for European countries hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, the chairman of the Eurogroup, Mário Centeno, announced. The main component of the rescue plan involves the European Stability Mechanism, the EU's bailout fund, which will make €240bn available to guarantee spending by indebted countries under pressure.The EU ministers also agreed other measures including €200bn in guarantees from the European Investment Bank and a European Commission project for national short-time working schemes.But the deal does not mention using joint debt to finance recovery - something Italy, France and Spain pushed strongly for but which is a red line for Germany, the Netherlands, Finland and Austria.

Health, Environment and Cybersecurity
Critical drugs supply must not be disrupted, EU envoy says as India bans & resumes exports, 10 April 2020.

After India partially lifted the ban on the export of hydroxychloroquine and paracetamol, drugs that are in high demand to fight Covid-19, the European Union has said it believes global supply chains and distribution networks of such critical drugs and other items should not get disrupted. Click here to read....

Privacy for an online coronavirus pandemic world, 13 April 2020

People are increasingly moving their lives online in order to maintain contact while keeping physical distance during the pandemic. That has its risks, DW's Konstantin Klein writes. Click here to read....

‘Green recovery alliance’ launched in European Parliament, 14 April 2020

An informal alliance has been launched in the European Parliament on the back of calls from 12 EU environment ministers who have signed an appeal for a green recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. Signatories say they are “committed to offering the necessary investment solutions, aligned with climate commitments, to revive the economy after the crisis.” Click here to read....

Perspective (s):
A German Exception? Why the Country’s Coronavirus Death Rate Is Low, 4 April 2020

The pandemic has hit Germany hard, with more than 100,000 people infected. But the percentage of fatal cases has been remarkably low compared to those in many neighbouring countries. Click here to read....

Why has Portugal not been as badly hit by COVID-19 as neighbour Spain? 14 April 2020

A study from the Nova University of Lisbon indicates the reproduction of COVID-19 in Portugal was the lowest in Europe during the first 25 days of the epidemic. More preparation time and people obeying confinement measures has helped Portugal manage its coronavirus outbreak, it's been claimed. Click here to read....

II. Russia
Russia slams NATO approaches during pandemic as counter-productive to unifying agenda, 1 April 2020

NATO’s course towards its enlargement is only creating new dividing lines while the world needs unity in the fight against the coronavirus, Russia’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Tuesday in the wake of North Macedonia’s accession to the alliance. Click here to read....

Putin’s Address to the Nation, 2 April 2020

Following upon his address to the Nation on 25 March, President Putin announced to extend the official non-work period until the end of April as cases in Russia continues to rise. Transcript of the speech is available at Click here to read....

Russia urges US to promptly prolong New START, 8 April 2020

Russia is urging the United States to make a prompt and positive response to the proposal for prolonging the Measures for the Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms (New START), the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement on the occasion of the treaty’s tenth anniversary. Click here to read....

Coronavirus pandemic not to affect S-400 deliveries to India – ambassador, 11 April, 2020

The coronavirus pandemic will have no effect on the timeframe of Russian-Indian military contracts, including the deliveries of S-400 systems, Indian Ambassador to Russia Bala Venkatesh Varma said in an interview with TASS. Click here to read....

Putin says Russia may need the army to help battle coronavirus, 13 April 2020

President Vladimir Putin said on Monday Russia might need to call in the army to help tackle the coronavirus crisis and warned the contagion was getting worse after the number of confirmed cases rose by a record daily amount. Click here to read....

Russian arms firm to donate $2 million to India’s PM CARES Fund, 15 April 2020

In a first such donation of its kind, Russia’s State-owned defence exports company Rosoboronexport has committed $2million (₹15.3 crore) to the newly set up ‘PM CARES Fund’, diplomatic and government sources confirmed. The proposed donation to the fund has been set up specially to assist the government’s efforts in combating the COVID-19 pandemic. The donation would be a first as India has so far not taken funds from foreign state-run entities. Click here to read....

Economy/Energy Sector
OPEC, Russia approve biggest-ever oil cut to support prices amid coronavirus pandemic, 12 April 2020

OPEC and allies led by Russia have agreed to a record cut in output to prop up oil prices amid the coronavirus pandemic in an unprecedented deal with fellow oil nations, including the United States that could curb global oil supply by 20 percent. The group said it had agreed to reduce output by 9.7 million barrels per day (bpd) for May and June. Click here to read....

Meeting on economic issues, 14 April 2020

Vladimir Putin held meeting, via videoconference, on economic issues. Transcript available at Click here to read....

Russia’s Coming Crisis Puts $13 Billion of Remittances at Risk, 14 April, 2020

Russia’s deepening economic crisis is on the verge of spilling into some of the most remittance-dependent economies in the world. Migrant workers from the former-Soviet Union send $13 billion home each year from Russia, where they are allowed to work visa-free. But now that money is starting to dry up due to lockdowns in Moscow and St. Petersburg that have halted construction projects and sapped demand for taxis. Click here to read....

COVID-19 patients tracking smartphone app enters testing in Moscow, 1 April 2020

A smartphone app for tracking of patients with confirmed coronavirus infection, who stay in voluntary home isolation and who took obligation to comply with the quarantine, is under development and testing in Moscow, Moscow Informational Technologies Department head Eduard Lysenko said, adding that the app will not be used for all Moscow citizens. Click here to read....

Russia's Coronavirus Cases Surpass 20,000 in Latest One-Day Record Surge, 14 April 2020

Russia’s officially reported numbers- which are still relatively lower than those in European countries -have sparked suspicion. Experts warn that Russia's testing capacity is hampered by bureaucracy, while officials warn that the real number of cases is likely much higher. Click here to read....

Russia Braces for Worst as Coronavirus Spreads to Hinterland, 15 April 2020

Russia has been seeing an increase in coronavirus infections despite a series of confinement measures, prompting President Vladimir Putin to warn of "extraordinary" scenarios. The infections are no longer confined to the Moscow, epicentre of the Coronavirus outbreak in the country. Click here to read....

Russia’s growing coronavirus outbreak and its challenge to Vladimir Putin, 6 April 2020

The looming crisis couldn’t come at a worse time for Russia. transition plan to keep Putin in power until 2036 is delayed. And early data this year shows Russians are contracting “pneumonia” at higher rates than in the past; some critics say that it’s actually Covid-19, and that the government is manipulating statistics to make it seem like the spread isn’t that bad. Click here to read....

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