Friday, June 3, 2022
‘Tens Of Thousands’ Of Russians Wounded In Ukraine Overwhelming Hospitals – OpEd
By Paul Goble
Tens of thousands” of Russians wounded in Ukraine are overwhelming their country’s medical system, one already strained by treating covid victims and the cutbacks imposed as part of Vladimir Putin’s euphemistically named “healthcare optimization,” the Insider portal says.
The situation is especially dire in Moscow and other major cities because doctors and other medical personnel there have been shifted to locations closer to the front lines. In response, the authorities have called for volunteers, including from the Orthodox Church, even though many of them lack medical training (theins.ru/obshestvo/250687).
But officials are worried because they expect the number of wounded that Russian hospitals will have to treat will “only grow.” They fear that those entering the Russian medical system will thus get care that is not as good as it should be and that those wounded in Ukraine may suffer more permanent consequences or even death as a result.
The Russian medical authorities are also worried that Russians who need treatment for covid and other diseases and accidents will suffer as well especially as more and more personnel are shifted to caring for the wounded (newizv.ru/news/society/27-02-2022/spetsoperatsiya-meditsina-kto-budet-lechit-kovid-esli-vseh-medikov-otpravyat-na-front).
- The Russian medical system was never robust, but the need to treat victims of Putin’s war in Ukraine is highlighting just how close to disaster the country’s medical system has become thanks to the cutbacks the Kremlin leader has imposed in the name of saving money on social services to spend on the military and security services.
- Instead of preparing the medical system to be in a position to help those wounded in his war, Putin systemically cut it back and now Russians are seeing the consequences – a government that claims it won’t ever abandon any Russian soldier effectively abandoning many of them if they are wounded.
Paul Goble is a longtime specialist on ethnic and religious questions in Eurasia. Most recently, he was director of research and publications at the Azerbaijan Diplomatic Academy. Earlier, he served as vice dean for the social sciences and humanities at Audentes University in Tallinn and a senior research associate at the EuroCollege of the University of Tartu in Estonia. He has served in various capacities in the U.S. State Department, the Central Intelligence Agency and the International Broadcasting Bureau as well as at the Voice of America and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Mr. Goble maintains the Window on Eurasia blog and can be contacted directly at email@example.com .