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Dr Anastasia Vasilyeva trained as an ophthalmic surgeon, but left his profession to form the Alliance of Medical Union Doctors in Moscow in August 2018, which now has 48 divisions in 40 different regions of Russia and around 2,000 members. She strongly criticized Putin’s general health policies, which she blames for the destruction of the health system, as well as his response to the COVID-19 pandemic. During this current health crisis, the medical activist has constantly criticized the government for failing to provide hospitals with personal protective equipment (PPE) and other basic medical supplies, and claimed that the doctors had received order to cover deaths from COVID-19.

For her troubles, the union leader is more and more targeted by the security services, which try to repress her activities at every stage.

Dr. Vasilyeva explained to Express.co.uk why she believed the authorities were tightening the screws against her and her organization.

She said: “Our organization shows the entire population of Russia the destruction of the health system.

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“We are showing the real problems, but the government is trying to tell people that everything is fine.

“They don’t want us to tell the truth. They just want to lie about it and make people believe that all is well, that the policy is good and that the health care system is good.

“It is just a psychological influence on the population that Putin is good and his politics.

“That’s why they don’t like anyone telling the truth about the plight of education, medicine, science. “

As a sign that the coronavirus pandemic is already hurting its popularity, a new opinion poll published on Monday showed that Russian confidence in Vladimir Putin has fallen to its lowest level in 14 years.

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The poll was conducted by the state-funded polling agency VTsIOM, which showed that only 28.3% of Russians named Putin, when asked to name a politician they trusted.

In recent weeks, Dr. Vasilyeva has received a summons from the public inquiry to attend an “interview” and has been contacted by the social services department to inquire about health and well-being. -be of his children. .

She was also arrested and detained overnight by police in early April after trying to deliver medical supplies to a hospital in the small town of Okulovka in northwest Russia.

However, the former eye specialist has vowed to continue his campaign, insisting that she has no political ambition and that her main motivation is simply to improve healthcare for the public.

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She said, “One of the most important institutions in the country is medicine. If the medical system is bad, then the country’s policy is bad for the people.

“I do not want to be involved in politics, but I see politicians like Putin and his government, they have made our people suffer from the bad health care system and bad political decisions lead to bad health in Russia and suffer from diseases and the great mortality, etc. “

She added, “This is social policy. It’s very important for people’s good lives and it includes the health system and education.

“I don’t really want to play politics – I just want to influence politics to improve the health care system. “

Russia spends only 3% of GDP on health services, while most Western European countries invest around 9% of GDP in the health sector.

In addition, the Putin government has pursued a so-called “optimization” program for medical services, which has resulted in serious cuts and cut wages for doctors and nurses.

In one of his main pledges in the 2012 presidential election, Putin promised to double or even triple the salaries of doctors, which he failed spectacularly.

According to medical union polls, Russian doctors working in public hospitals earn on average only around £ 520 a month and often work long unpaid overtime, while ambulance drivers and nurses can earn up to at £ 100 per month.

Due to low wages and working conditions, some 10% of doctors leave the health profession each year, which has resulted in a shortage of more than 25,000 medical personnel, with regions often being more disadvantaged.

Tuesday, Vladimir Putin sought to reassure the Russians on the pandemic, which saw infections explode to exceed the total of China.

In a televised address to the nation, the president said that the situation had “relatively stabilized” but that the situation was “still very serious”.

He said: “The peak is not behind us, we are on the verge of facing a new grueling phase of the pandemic … the deadly threat of the virus remains.”

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