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Analysis. In a column written on March 25 for the magazine Current values, a Russian diplomat recounts her return to the country, her mission in France completed. Ekaterina Kopylova, chief of staff of the ambassador between 2016 and 2021, tells the“Euphoria” which accompanies his first steps in Moscow, his wonder at simple joys: going to a show, dining at a restaurant, seeing his relatives … “On March 11, I landed in a serene, active country, looking to the future while remaining attentive”, she writes.

The picture is idyllic… and true. Moscow (which should not be confused with Russia) was before the crisis due to the new coronavirus a megalopolis where it was good to live: clean, safe, dynamic, ultra-connected. She stayed that way. The last time health restriction measures made the headlines there was when the mayor of the city announced that the closing time, set at 11 pm for bars and restaurants, had been lifted. And when opponents have been jailed for violating said standards.

M’s storyme Kopylova only omits one figure: 400,000. This is, approximately, the excess mortality observed in Russia during the epidemic, from April 2020 to February 2021. Depending on the chosen point of comparison (the year 2019 or the average of previous years ), this figure fluctuates between 376,000 and 414,000. Far more than the 86,000 deaths from Covid officially recorded at the end of February.

Statistics cannot be falsified

This figure is no secret – mortality statistics, impossible to falsify, are available month after month. From the spring of 2020, Russian and foreign media had pointed out the difference between these figures and the official statistics of the Covid, three to four times lower.

On December 28, the Deputy Prime Minister in charge of health, Tatiana Golikova, even agreed with them, believing that “More than 81%” of the excess mortality observed between January and November was attributable to Covid-19. Since then, the Russian counting method has not changed, but the observation made by Golikova remains valid: Russia ranks in the world’s leading group for Covid-19 mortality, in raw numbers or as a proportion of the population. To ignore it is to show bad faith.

Article reserved for our subscribers Read also Covid-19: Russia resolves to recognize a very high excess mortality

Faced with the pandemic, the Kremlin has made a choice recurring in its history: that of the state against the individual. It only adopted drastic measures for a few weeks in the spring (apart from a strict border closure which still lasts). Then the victory was announced, in particular to allow the vote on the constitutional reform on the 1er July 2020. From then on, there could be no turning back.

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