Support The Moscow Times!

Russian Region Raffles Coal to Boost Covid Vaccinations

Mohamed Boualem Essamy (CC BY-SA 4.0)

This Christmas, a lump of coal in your stockings means you’re on the nice list.

That’s what around 45,000 residents in Russia’s Far East will be eligible to win if they get the coronavirus vaccine.

Regional authorities are raffling free haircuts, dental services, gym memberships and microwaves as they hope to stimulate a stubbornly slow vaccination drive amid Russia’s record-breaking fourth wave of the pandemic.

“The sort of jackpot is a certificate for three tons of coal, excluding delivery,” said Anastasia Sakharova, a senior official in the Khabarovsk region’s Imeni Lazo district, population 45,000, some 8,000 kilometers east of Moscow.

“We organized everything ourselves, so the prizes may not be that large, but they’re important,” Sakharova was quoted as saying by the todaykhv.ru news website Wednesday.

She valued the grand prize at 15,000 rubles ($200) and noted that the lottery has played its part in boosting vaccine uptake.

Sakharova said more than 100 people have gotten the jab in each of the past two days since the lottery was announced, up from 20 people per day in September.

The prizes, including the three metric tons of coal, will be handed out live online this Dec. 1 and will be available for self-pickup for one month.

The Khabarovsk region goes into partial lockdown Thursday, with shopping malls, gyms, playgrounds shuttered and restaurants offering only takeout to slow down Russia’s record-breaking daily infections and deaths.

… we have a small favor to ask. As you may have heard, The Moscow Times, an independent news source for over 30 years, has been unjustly branded as a "foreign agent" by the Russian government. This blatant attempt to silence our voice is a direct assault on the integrity of journalism and the values we hold dear.

We, the journalists of The Moscow Times, refuse to be silenced. Our commitment to providing accurate and unbiased reporting on Russia remains unshaken. But we need your help to continue our critical mission.

Your support, no matter how small, makes a world of difference. If you can, please support us monthly starting from just $2. It's quick to set up, and you can be confident that you're making a significant impact every month by supporting open, independent journalism. Thank you.

Once
Monthly
Annual
Continue
paiment methods
Not ready to support today?
Remind me later.

Read more