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From Russia With Junk: Why the U.S. Trashed the Ventilators Shipped From Moscow

20 minutes
From Russia With Junk: Why the U.S. Trashed the Ventilators Shipped From Moscow

In April 2020, Russia shipped 45 ventilator machines to New York City as part of what became a humanitarian exchange with America at the height of the Big Apple’s initial coronavirus outbreak. But what should have been a heartwarming display of cooperation in challenging times quickly became a political boondoggle. American hospitals were unable to use the lifesaving machines due to a lack of adapters to convert their required electrical voltage. Subsequently, a few weeks after the Aventa-M ventilators were delivered, several of the same models reportedly burst into flames at two hospitals in Moscow and St. Petersburg, killing six people and raising concerns about the devices’ safety. 

The ventilators also became politically toxic in the United States after U.S. officials completed the equipment exchange with Russia by shipping medical supplies worth several times more than what Moscow sent to New York. Additionally, the Russian machinery’s manufacturer, “Concern Radio-Electronic Technologies” (a Rostec subsidiary), is currently under U.S. sanctions imposed against Moscow (though White House officials say the sanctions don’t apply to medical supplies).

Just a few days ago, on October 19, BuzzFeed News correspondent Chris Miller reported that the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency “essentially tossed [the Russian ventilators] in the trash.” To find out more about the U.S. government’s decision, “The Naked Pravda” spoke to Chris Miller.

“The Naked Pravda” comes out on Fridays (or sometimes Saturdays). Catch every new episode by subscribing at Apple PodcastsSpotifyGoogle Podcasts, or other platforms. If you have a question or comment about the show, please write to Kevin Rothrock at [email protected] with the subject line: “The Naked Pravda.”

Producer, sound editing, and mixing — Kevin Rothrock

Send any questions or comments to [email protected]

Executive producer — Alexandr Sadikov

Music — Victor Davydov

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