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Here to help Russia's support networks for the senior citizens, chronically ill people, and returning international travelers now ordered to self-isolate

Source: Meduza
Sergey Bobylev / TASS / Scanpix / LETA

On March 25, officials in Russia’s capital required seniors older than 65 and chronically ill people to self-isolate as a precaution against the spread of coronavirus. Anyone returning from abroad is also required to isolate at home for two weeks, during which time they cannot even step outside to dispose of trash or visit a pharmacy. These restrictions create serious obstacles to buying groceries and medicine, walking dogs, and tackling other household needs. To learn about the support networks in place for these people and to find out how they can get help, Meduza called the telephone hotlines for the All-Russia People's Front (ONF) and Moscow Health Department.

Volunteers and social workers

Assistance for senior citizens

Anyone in Russia older than 60 can receive help with the delivery of groceries, medicines, and other household goods by calling the All-Russia People's Front (ONF) hotline at 8-800-200-34-11 and sharing their address, name, and telephone number. Within three days, a volunteer should contact the senior citizen and begin helping, retrieving the money and grocery list in person, before returning with the food, receipt, and any change.

Moscow residents who are over the age of 65 or chronically ill can call the local Health Department’s hotline at 8-495-870-45-09. Within 24 hours, an official from the city’s Labor and Social Affairs Department should respond and schedule a time for any needed assistance. 

Help for those who have returned from abroad and are now in self-isolation

Russians younger than 60 who have been placed in self-isolation after returning from abroad are not eligible for any kind of centralized assistance. These people are advised to ask friends or neighbors to throw out their trash or walk their dogs.

How can Russians volunteer to help?

Some people are posting notices in the lobbies of their apartment buildings, saying that they’re able to pick up groceries and over-the-counter medicines for neighbors stuck at home. A charity project run by, for example, has shared a template for such offers. Once volunteers print the document, they just need to write in their names and apartment numbers on the paper, which invites elderly people in the building to share their grocery lists.

Help for Russians stranded abroad

The first thing Russians abroad need to do is contact their nearest embassy. Stranded travelers can also call hotlines operated by Russia’s Federal Tourism Agency and the Foreign Ministry’s Crisis Management Center. 

Russians without the money needed to buy a return ticket must complete an evacuation application at Additionally, consultations are available by calling +7-499-678-12-03.

Legal assistance

The “Agora” human rights group is offering help to any Russians whose civil rights are violated because of measures to curb the spread of coronavirus. Consultations are available, for example, whether or not you’re stuck in Russia and trying to leave or marooned abroad and hoping to return home. Agora is also providing help to individuals who are forcibly hospitalized despite negative coronavirus test results, as well as persons who have been fined for leaving their home or placed under state surveillance using facial recognition systems. 

To contact Agora for assistance, Russians can call or message over WhatsApp the numbers +7-917-938-08-77 and +7-962-570-13-05. The organization is also offering help on Telegram at @Covid19LawAgora and @help_covid19.

Text by Natasha Fedorenko

Translation by Kevin Rothrock

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