Virus toll, week 9: Silence in Russia

Virus toll, week 9: Silence in Russia


norman lebrecht

May 24, 2020

There has been a merciful diminution in the number of Covid deaths reported worldwide in the music community over the past fortnight. Let’s hope we’re coming to the end of it.

What’s puzzling, though, is that not a single musical death in Russia has been ascribed to Covid-19. There has been an unusually high number of fatalities reported in the past week – a Bolshoi curator, a respected violin professor, a music critic, a conductor, a ballet professor and more. No mention of the virus, except here and there a euphemism ‘of a swift disease’. There is pressure from above not to report Covid. Self-censorship is back.

These are our losses this week in the rest of the world:


76  Derek Weber, veteran Salzburg Nachrichten music critic, 73 (pictured)

77  Joseph Policelli, Massachussetts organist and music professor, 71

78 Queen manager Jack Nelson, 77

79 Alabama music teacher Carl Matthews, 92

80 Bristol musician Junior Hines, 67

81 Paschal Allen, Covent Garden opera singer, 87

82 Minneapolis pianist Thelma Irene Johnson, 96

Previous weeks here.


  • Anon says:

    It’s completely implausible that Russia has no deaths due to Covid-19.

    • Anon says:

      Is the thumbs down from someone who thinks it’s possible that no Russians have died from this? How could that be, when the virus has spread to every corner of the globe? I just can’t tell if people are that illogical or if they think the rest of us are stupid enough to believe what they know to be untrue.

      This isn’t a competition between countries. Lying does not improve the situation.

  • Olga says:

    Bad Russians..they’re misbehaving again.Few die compared to the wondrous and light elves from Europe and America…I will tell you gentlemen a terrible secret…we just don’t live up to 80+ this is our main military secret…We’ll do you guys anyway…Let’s live together

    • Brettermeier says:

      The difference between China and Russia is:

      You guys are whiny as f&%$. 🙂

      “military secret…We’ll do you guys anyway…Let’s live together”

      And schizophrenic! Empty threats out of nowhere and then pretending to be peace-loving.

      Russia is China’s lapdog, unleashed from time to time to annoy the US.

      But I apologize, I didn’t want to interrupt your whining. Please continue, I assume you have a quota to fulfill. Chop-chop!

  • engineers_unite says:

    “not a single musical death in Russia has been ascribed to Covid-19”.

    Almost certainly because the numbers are faked in the west to inflate the figures.

    If someone dies from a heart attack in France, but had serious heart disease, and tested +ve for Covid, he dies from Covid, but we all know heart disease is the main killer in western countries because large numbers are obese or grossly obese.
    Result he died from heart attack, but is faked to die of Covid.

    Idem in Italy what a suprise:-

    “Italy has one of the oldest populations in the world, with a median age of about 46 years old.
    Nearly 60% of the population is aged 40 and over, about 23% of which is over 65”

    Suprise suprise! Huge “Covid” inflated numbers and of course a total failure to protect the old people’s homes.
    Then of course keeping people in enforced idleness is great for health isn’t it now?!

    Russia has one of the youngest populations?
    Because the average male lifespan is 59, thanks to alcohol abuse, poor diet, poverty, and plain old suicide.
    Russian men don’t even make it to Covid vulnerability status.

    Old people’s homes in Russia??
    You gotta be kidding, – it’s work ’til you drop….

    (90 yr old great grandmother still going strong…pushes up 3T (you read right 3 tons!) of potatoes in her garden every summer since year dot, never mind the carrots, beans, tomatoes and all).

    Dacha life is not all bad, and then you have the Banya & winters at -30C..which most weak kneed westerners would faint & die in.

    Look at these similar northern countries:-

    Alaska 408 cases
    Estonia 1,823 only 64 dead
    Lithuania 1,623 only 63 dead
    Latvia 1,047 only 22 dead

    (Baltic states VERY LOW, NO LOCKDOWN, and you all thought lockdowns work?)
    It’s LIES.

    What did you all do wrong?

    YEP there are lies, good old lies and statistics, then policies based on self harm.

    Nobody can be bothered to look at the difference, as we are now back in the times of the “salem witches”, which is why Sweden is being punished for having no lockdown and being successful.

  • Edgar Self says:

    And Antarctica has reported no cases at all!

    I also don’t believe data from India or especially China, which with its billions reports fewer cases and deaths than Illinois or small South American nations not including Brazil, where even President Bolsonaro is starting to believe the numbers while searching for his third health minister in a month.

    • John Borstlap says:

      At Antartica, two seals have been detected with a persistent cough, but it could also have been a herring going-down the wrong way.

  • M2N2K says:

    If you still believe that worldwide Covid-19 publicly available statistical information is accurate, you haven’t been paying attention. Infection numbers depend heavily on testing levels that vary widely. Numbers of deaths are not any more reliable: some like those in USA are highly inflated while others like those in Russia are grossly undercounted.

    • Florida says:

      Numbers in the U.S. are undercounted, as well. Many officials are under pressure to keep Portland Mud (anagram) from looking as bad as he does.

      • M2N2K says:

        Effectiveness of that kind of pressure in US is minimal. Most of death numbers here are generated by hospitals and there is widespread inflating going on, probably because they get federal money for each Covid-19 case. Besides, Americans in general are a rather undisciplined bunch, so local authorities including many governors and mayors are trying to make the numbers appear as scary as possible in order to get people to be at least a little bit more obedient.

        • Florida says:

          From a recent article, How COVID-19 Deaths are counted, in Scientific American:

          “The reality is that assigning a cause of death is not always straightforward, even pre-pandemic, and a patchwork of local rules and regulations makes getting valid national data challenging. However, data on excess deaths in the United States over the past several months suggest that COVID-19 deaths are probably being undercounted rather than overcounted.”

          • M2N2K says:

            Consider the source and note the words that are used to indicate that they have no proof of their theory: challenging, suggest, probably. Most likely, it is exactly the other way around.

  • Edgar Self says:

    And what of North Korea? I believe nothing there.

    • M2N2K says:

      Obviously not, though their society is so effectively and hermetically isolated/closed/oppressed/repressed that I wouldn’t be surprised if the real virus numbers there are indeed relatively low.

      • John Borstlap says:

        In N-Korea, the rather small number of virusses have left the country after a reprimand of the Great Leader.

      • Brettermeier says:

        Not sure where I read that, could’ve been here, for all I know:

        Corona cases in North Korea:

        1, 0, 1, 0, 1, 0, 1, 0, 1, 0, … Pretty dark, but also somehow funny. 😀