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Inside Russia’s ‘fourth wave’: Record deaths, deep frustration and plenty of blame

October 30, 2021 at 6:00 a.m. EDT

Kremlin propagandist Margarita Simonyan, editor in chief of state-run RT, said on Telegram she had a change of heart about anti-vaccine claims because children were dying “en masse.” “At first, the anti-vaxers evoked my understandable sympathy. People are afraid, people are not explained, people are confused,” she wrote Oct. 20. But now she calls them a threat to children’s lives.“Choke on ventilators, crawl with an [oxygen] saturation of 70 in the corridors of jam-packed hospitals,” she wrote. “That’s your choice. But I cannot forgive you the deaths of my country’s children.”

But Tatiana Stanovaya, an analyst at Moscow-based think tank R. Politik, said President Vladimir Putin’s uneven messaging and resistance to mandatory vaccinations were more to blame. “If any other country had the same information policy as Russia,” she said, “everything would be the same.”

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