Saratov regional officials spend millions of rubles quarantining locals ahead of Putin visit
The Saratov regional government spent 8.46 million rubles (about $109,345) on organizing a two-week quarantine for locals who were set to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin during his visit to the region on April 12. This was reported by the BBC Russian Service, citing a tender the Saratov regional government posted on the public procurement website on March 27.
To mark the 60th anniversary of the first manned space flight on April 12, Putin will visit the Saratov region’s Park Pokoriteley Kosmosa (Space Conquerors Park), which was opened at the landing site of Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin — the first human in space.
According to the tender, individuals involved in preparing or conducting events involving Putin were quarantined at the Niva Sanatorium in the town of Marks. They stayed in single rooms, where they were provided with three meals a day and medical care. The sanatorium was closed to other guests during this period. The contractor that signed the tender was Gazprom Transgaz Saratov, which owns the Niva Sanatorium.
Who exactly underwent quarantine remains unknown. Presumably, it was journalists from state-run media outlets, intelligence personnel, as well as Saratov Regional Governor Valery Radaev. The local outlet Versiya Saratov reported that Radaev returned to work on April 12 after a two week vacation.
Putin is set to deliver his annual address to the Federal Assembly on April 21. The Kremlin has introduced quotas for the number of journalists who can attend the speech, and has also required each reporter to provide in advance two negative PCR tests for the coronavirus, taken three days apart.