Last week I mentioned a curious story coming out of Russia. A doctor named Yelena Nepomnyashchaya fell out of a fifth floor window. She was in critical condition after the fall but has since died from her injuries. Some reports said this happened as she was on a teleconference. Dr. Nepomnyashchaya had been resisting some planned changes at the hospital and had also complained about a lack of PPE:
Nepomnyashchaya was allegedly opposed to repurposing another of the hospital’s buildings to house 80 Covid-19 patients because of its shortage of protective gear and lack of proper training among staff, TVK cited an unnamed source as saying.
“Perhaps these were the circumstances that prompted the woman to commit a desperate act,” the source was quoted as saying…
The incident with Nepomnyashchaya follows a spate of mysterious deaths by falling out of windows among Russian journalists in recent years.
As the last line of that Moscow Times story suggests, there is a prior pattern in Russia. People who embarrass the government have accidents around windows. Keep that in mind because today the Moscow Times is reporting that in the last few weeks a total of three doctors have mysteriously fallen out of windows. And, coincidentally, all of them had complained about working conditions:
Alexander Shulepov is in critical condition with a skull fracture after falling from the second floor of a rural hospital where he was being treated for Covid-19, the local crisis center told the Vesti Voronezh outlet Saturday.
Shulepov, 37, and his colleague filmed a video on April 22 complaining that the chief doctor of the Novaya Usman village hospital forced him to work despite the fact that he tested positive for Covid-19.
A second video appeared three days later in which Shulepov denied his initial “emotional” claims. His colleague Alexander Kosyakin reportedly faces criminal charges for spreading “fake news” about the virus, which carries a prison sentence of up to five years under a recently passed federal law.
The Daily Mail published a story about this trend. Here’s their description of the third incident:
In another case, Dr Natalya Lebedeva, 48, plunged 60ft to her death from the sixth floor of a Moscow hospital after colleagues said she was unfairly blamed for the spread of coronavirus at her clinic in Star City, near Moscow, the training centre for cosmonauts.
She had become infected from Covid-19.
Meanwhile, the spread of the virus in Russia is accelerating and both the economy and Putin’s approval ratings are taking a hit:
Russia hit a grim milestone over the weekend, officially recording the highest number of coronavirus cases the country has seen in a 24-hour period, with 10,633 people testing positive. And the economic pain is worsening: Last week, Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said on state television that he had never seen a crisis like Covid-19.
“I don’t recall anything like this,” he said, adding that plummeting global oil prices — a primary source of Russian state revenue — had delivered a “double hit” to the country’s economy.
It adds up to a dangerous political moment for Russian President Vladimir Putin. In a new survey published by independent pollster Levada-Center, less than half of respondents — 46% — said the Russian government had responded adequately to the crisis.
Putin was in the midst of making himself president for life when the virus hit. Now he’s suddenly trapped in a historic crisis. Maybe that explains why there is so much pressure on doctors on the front lines of the crisis to only offer praise for the government response right now.
Here’s video of Dr. Shulepov’s statements before his fall via the Daily Mail: