(Moscow Times) The death toll from the coronavirus across many Russian regions could be many times higher than official statistics show, analysis of new data by The Moscow Times suggests.
Experts pointed to systemic underreporting of deaths, and highlighted a complex incentive structure and political relationship between the Kremlin and Russia’s governors in the regions.
They believe that by discouraging regions from reporting bad news, insisting they keep the virus under control and providing loose guidelines on how to count deaths, Russia has opened the door for regions to falsify, manipulate and delay accurate reporting of the spread of the virus. […]
“Moscow gave the regions the opportunity to underreport because all these instructions on how to calculate deaths give a lot of freedom to the regional healthcare systems to underreport the real scale of the epidemic,” said Nikolay Petrov, a senior research fellow at Chatham House and expert on Russia’s regional political system. […]
“It wasn’t very rational to cheat in some cases, because federal assistance depended on the scale of the problem,” Petrov adds. […]
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