The Russian government has admitted that more than three times more people have died from Covid in the country than initially claimed.
The newly announced total deaths figure of more than 186,000 puts Russia third in the list of countries worst hit by the virus, in terms of total fatalities.
The USA has the highest total death count, according to the AFP press agency, with 333,140 deaths, and Brazil has the second highest, with 191,139.
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How have the real figures come to light?
The Rosstat statistics agency announced on 28 December that the number of deaths in total recorded between January and November this year in Russia was 229,700 higher than the same period last year.
Deputy Prime Minister, Tatiana Golikova, said that “more than 81 per cent of this increase in mortality over this period is due to Covid.”
The news comes after Alexie Raksha, who left the Rosstat agency in July, told AFP that Russian government departments falsify figures relating to Covid.
Russia has attracted international criticism for the way it has recorded Covid deaths, only in instances where an autopsy confirmed that the virus was the main cause of death.
Lockdowns and vaccines
The country has so far avoided a national lockdown over the winter months, and while some major cities have seen strict restrictions, many other areas have had limited measures put in place to reduce the spread of the virus.
Russia launched its large scale vaccination programme this month, and over-60s are now able to get the jab. Workers aged 18 to 60 who are at high risk of infections were first to be vaccinated in the country.
The Russian vaccine, Sputnik V, was among the first to be developed, with around 700,000 doses now distributed. However, there are concerns about uptake, with some surveys showing that fewer than 40 per cent of the population plan to get the vaccine.