Project, a liberal media outlet, has published an article where the situation around the novel coronavirus in St. Petersburg is again discussed through a prism favorable for opposition. The authors focus their efforts on information attacks, aimed at triggering protest sentiments among the residents.
During the COVID-19 pandemic in Russia, the liberal publications aggravated the situation with the help of various information attacks aimed at discrediting the government’s steps. At present, the situation around the novel coronavirus has improved. The number of the COVID-19 patients continues to gradually decrease, which affected the opposition’s agenda. As long as there is the risk of spreading of the coronavirus infection, the liberal media continue to use this subject for stirring up protest moods.
This time it refers to the Project publication. Its reporters published an inflammatory article “Behind Moscow. A Story about How Proctologist and Security Guard Fail to Fight COVID-19 in St. Petersburg.”
The article is based on the author's thoughts about the spread of the novel coronavirus in St.Petersburg. It begins with the information that the Project publication saw political subtext in the dismissal of Alexei Yakovlev, the head physician of the S. P. Botkin infectious diseases clinical hospital, despite the fact that the issue of the hospital’s deplorable state had been raised long before the pandemic. Deputies of the St. Petersburg legislative assembly tried to stand for Yakovlev, but could not help him. Then Oleg Ergashev, the vice governor for social policy and a proctologist, was appointed to the post. Project considered that “on the eve of the pandemic” the decision of this kind was flawed, and the appointment of a new person to the post of chief physician could affect the surge in the number of medical workers infected with COVID-19.
Then the authors of the article recall fake stories on hospital employees telling about the unfavorable situation in medical institutions. They concerned in particular the Pokrovsky hospital. It was involved in a scandal with a video allegedly made by its doctors who told about the shortage of personal protection equipment (PPE.) In fact, it turned out that the video was shot not by doctors, but by nurses. The check showed that there were no COVID-19 patients in the hospital at the time when the video was made. In addition, in mid-April, on the power of a conflict of interests involving the top executives and doctors, experts voluntarily tried to re-equip part of the medical facility without any approval from the side of the relevant authorities. The scandal ended up with a scuffle. However, after a check done by Oleg Ergashev and Dmitry Lisovets, the chairman of the city’s Health Committee, all issues were settled, including the alleged lack of PPE. Officials said that the hospital is fully equipped.
Despite the official report, Project’s journalists say that the above-mentioned series of resolutions testify to the low competence of the authorities. They believe that the change of the chief physician of the Botkin hospital and the fake story from the Pokrovsky hospital could have had a significant impact on the spread of the coronavirus infection among doctors. It should be noted that medical workers are always at risk during the pandemic, and they are very likely to get infected even if wearing the PPE outfits. In addition, they might have caught the virus outside the workplace, and the hospital management is not responsible for this. Apparently, the Project reporters intentionally skip these obvious conclusions in order to stir up public discontent. The information attacks of this kind appeared many times in the media. Almost every one of them was refuted by official representatives who provided confirmed data.