'What do we have? Only scuffles': bill on QR codes passes State Council of Tatarstan very loudly

Deputies-'dissenters' were invited to the 'red' zone

'What do we have? Only scuffles': bill on QR codes passes State Council of Tatarstan very loudly
Photo: Maksim Platonov

The State Council of Tatarstan overwhelmingly has supported the federal draft bill on the introduction of QR codes in public places and on transport in Russia. Seventy-three deputies representing the United Russia faction voted in favour, seven members of the Communist Party of Russia, A Just Russia, and the Liberal Democratic Party voted against. After a heated discussion in the parliament, Tatarstan Healthcare Minister Marat Sadykov told Realnoe Vremya that he would send invitations to all deputies-“dissenters” to visit the “red zone”, which did not frighten LDPR Deputy Eduard Sharafiev, who agreed to come at any time.

Allowing QR codes

Tatarstan deputies discussed the most “sensitive” federal draft bill — on the introduction of QR-code system for visiting public places and travelling by transport throughout the country. It was submitted to the State Duma two weeks ago, and during this time the regions were given the opportunity to express their position. Of course, many, if not all subjects, followed the experiment of Tatarstan, which a few days ago was the first to introduce QR codes for trips on all types of public transport. Now they are waiting for the final “summary” from the regional parliament in the form of amendments on how to properly move the “qrisation” on transport.

The heads of the Supreme Court of the Republic of Tatarstan, the Arbitration Court of the Republic of Tatarstan, the Prosecutor's Office of the Republic of Tatarstan and many federal law enforcement agencies were invited as observers to the discussion of the federal bill. However, none of them asked for the floor to assess the legality of the introduction of the QR code system.

The federal bill was presented by the Chairman of the Committee on Social Policy, Svetlana Zakharova. She said that amendments to the law on sanitary and epidemiological welfare of the population suggest that “citizens will be able to visit places of mass events, cultural institutions, catering and retail facilities with the presentation of either a QR code about vaccination, or a document confirming that a person has had coronavirus, or a medical excemption to vaccination”.

“Until February 1, if a person does not have the necessary documentation to visit these facilities, he will have the opportunity to present a negative PCR test. After February 1, only citizens with a medical excemption will have such opportunity," she stressed.

Svetlana Zakharova: “Until February 1, if a person does not have the necessary documentation to visit these facilities, he will have the opportunity to present a negative PCR test. After February 1, only citizens with a medical excemption will have such opportunity”

At the same time, the decision on the use of QR codes and the list of objects where they are required will be made by the regional authorities. From 1 February, 2022, Russians will have the opportunity to visit places of mass events, cultural institutions, catering and retail facilities with the presentation of either a certificate of vaccination or a previous illness, or a medical excemption to vaccination. Similar documents will be required for the purchase of train and plane tickets. This measure is “urgent” and will operate, according to the plans of the authorities, until June 1, 2022, when the country achieves 80 percent collective immunity.

“Here we are sitting in the State Council — why don't we enter using QR codes?"

Before the vote, the representative of the LDPR faction, Eduard Sharafiev, was the first to take the floor:

“I am for voluntary vaccination, it is possible to defeat the pandemic if we develop collective immunity.

But at the same time, he opposed the introduction of the QR code system.

“I have not received a single appeal from a voter who would ask to support this initiative," he said, adding that “I am inundated with appeals from citizens who urge us not to support this initiative”.

According to him, the experiment on transport only led to fights with conductors.

“The first week has passed. What do we have? Just scuffle. Has this brought us closer to safety?" he exclaimed rhetorically. “If a vaccinated and infected person gets into public transport, then nothing threatens him, because the vaccine works. If an unvaccinated person gets on the transport, then he cannot infect a vaccinated person," he reasoned.

Sharafiev believes that the current measures are sufficient, it is important to increase the pace of vaccination.

“Here we are sitting in the State Council — why don't we enter using QR codes? If they are used for public transport, in shopping malls, then why do we need masks?" he complained. “I don't understand these excesses, we are trying to divide our society with codes.

Eduard Sharafiev: “The first week has passed. What do we have? Just scuffle. Has this brought us closer to safety?"

“Russia is not the pioneer in the introduction of QR codes”

“This measure is restrictive, temporary and forced. It is a pity that our fellow citizens are sincerely mistaken about the necessity and legality," Igor Bikeev, a deputy from United Russia, spoke out in defiance of him.

He believes that many people have become victims of unreliable and false information that is circulating on social networks.

“Some appeals are written in the same pattern — the same texts with stamps, false information," Bikeev hinted at the “anti-vaxxer” letters that the LDPR received.

According to him, these measures are necessary to save people's lives and are not new.

“Russia is not the pioneer. Israel, Italy, France, part of the USA, China," he cited the examples.

Igor Bikeev: “Russia is not the pioneer. Israel, Italy, France, part of the USA, China...”

The entire Communist Party faction opposed it. The Communists propose to carry out explanatory work among the population.

“The society is divided, scared! There has been no normal explanatory work. The people need to be met halfway, and not just be forced to get vaccinated," said Deputy Fadbir Safin.

“Scuffles is a bad thing, but there is an effect”

The position was also expressed by the representative of A Just Russia party, Almir Mikheev.

“Our position is that vaccination should and can only be voluntary. It is very strange that instead of dialogue, the government is again increasing pressure on citizens. In fact, we are getting a loyalty killing in our very core electorate. These are state employees, pensioners, remnants of medium-sized businesses. In my opinion, the federal centre again withdrew itself and gave the solution to this problem to the regions. Tatarstan is again acting as a testing ground. If everything goes smoothly here, it means that they will begin to implement it throughout Russia. If it doesn't, it means that the local government is to blame. I believe that it is necessary to stop experimenting on our own citizens. We need to do mass testing, identify the infected, isolate and treat, and not mock people who are not infected, but even bought this code. I don't see any sense," he shared his opinion.

Deputy and Rector of the Kazan State Medical University Aleksey Sozinov asked for the floor. He continued the conversation about the letters of voters. As it turned out, he also received 24 letters with the proposal to reject the draft bill.

“I do not agree that they are written in the same pattern. They are different, and the main argument is a gross violation of human rights and freedoms," he noted.

But he compared the introduction of QR codes to seat belts, which were once annoying, but still provided security.

“Scuffles is a bad thing, but there is an effect, the situation with morbidity is improvingm” said Sozinov.

According to him, the number of deaths is growing now: the mortality rate in the country is 4%, and in the Republic of Tatarstan — 3,24%.

Aleksey Sozinov: “Scuffles is a bad thing, but there is an effect, the situation with morbidity is improving”

“What other explanations are needed if 16 thousand doctors work in the red zone all the time”

“What other explanations are needed if 16 thousand doctors work in the red zone all the time!” Svetlana Zakharova fumed.

According to her, it is worth inviting the authors of those letters to work as volunteers in hospitals.

“Our doctors have no time to write these letters! What kind of explanatory work — turn on any TV channel," she said.

Concluding the discussion, Speaker of the State Council Farid Mukhametshin urged opponents of QR codes to vote for.

“Support it, it won't be your fault, and if not, you won't sleep at night," he addressed the LDPR deputy. "1,185 dead, 10-12 people die every day. The government adopted the resolution in the name and for the sake of saving people's lives. You know how much criticism there has been that the Russian Federation is acting slowly, the population is dying.

Farid Mukhametshin: "1,185 dead, 10-12 people die every day. The government has adopted the resolution in the name and for the sake of saving people's lives”

After the heated discussion in the parliament, Tatarstan Minister of Healthcare Marat Sadykov told Realnoe Vremya that he would send invitations to all deputies-“dissenters” to visit the red zone. This did not frighten LDPR Deputy Eduard Sharafiev, who, in a conversation with the publication, said that he agreed to come at any time.

Luiza Ignatyeva. Photo: tatarstan.ru
Tatarstan