The Doctor vs The President

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The Doctor vs The President




Providing a compelling and disturbing insight into Russian politics, this eye-opening profile follows Dr Vasilyeva, and eye specialist and young single mother in her 30s, whose work has been getting under the Kremlin’s skin, provoking vicious attacks by President Putin’s supporters.

Just two months ago, President Putin dismissed concerns about an epidemic, calling it ‘fake news’. The pandemic wasn’t part of Putin’s plans, as he called a referendum which he hoped would install him as president until 2036. But as the number of Russians infected by the virus sharply rose, Putin had to cancel the vote – struggling to keep control of the narrative.

Meanwhile, having set up a special group - the Alliance of Doctors – Dr Vasilyeva’s union raises money to buy and deliver protective equipment to hospitals around the country. Her message of a health system under pressure is at odds with the Kremlin’s line that everything is under control – and while travelling around Moscow and other regional areas to deliver much needed supplies to hospitals, Dr Vasilyeva ‘s voice led to her arrest and imprisonment.

Although the grim reality is that Russia has the third highest number of COVID-19 cases in the world, the lockdown in Moscow and other cities has started to loosen. Dr Vasilyeva warns the danger is far from over, with the virus quickly spreading in the regions. She and her team continue to make deliveries, despite the abuse and the threats.

A Foreign Correspondent Story


Foreign Correspondent
Australian Broadcasting Corporation