In an unusual development, public pressure has caused the Russian government to backtrack on a bill it proposed to parliament. The so-called QR Code Bill called for digital QR codes to be issued to all citizens upon proof of vaccination. The codes would then be used to access public venues and some modes of transportation.
Although vaccination QR codes are being required for access to restaurants or museums in some parts of Russia, including Moscow, the bill caused an outcry. Its implementation would have turned an emergency measure into a permanent national law – which critics saw as an attack on their freedoms.
A poll by the state news agency RIA Novosti, deleted soon after it was released on its website, showed that 80 percent of respondents are against the measure, and government social networking accounts were filling up with negative comments. Interestingly, many conservative and religious forces that the Russian government relies on for political support were the most vocal opponents. It didn’t help that some of these forces, for example the religious television channel Tsargrad, have been a platform for Covid dissidents and vaccine skeptics.
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