“If Russia stops at 500,000 excess deaths, that will be a good scenario,” the now freelance demographer argues. He calculates that the current toll is pushing 450,000 – a giant leap from the 94,267 deaths published online on Friday by Russia’s Covid headquarters.
Even that lower number is rarely cited by officials, though.
“In Covid, you choose between the economy and people’s lives – mostly older people’s lives,” is how Alexei sees the government’s rationale. We met in a coffee bar – there’s been no lockdown here since Spring.
“The Russian state chose the economy. They won’t say it, but it’s obvious.”