The Republic of Tatarstan was one of the first Russian regions to mandate QR codes for access to public places as the country battles the fourth and deadliest wave of the pandemic. Passes proving a person’s vaccination status, negative PCR test results or recent Covid-19 recovery, are an attempt to attract vaccine-indecisive populations to get the shot.
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As The Moscow Times reported on Monday (22/11/2021), fights erupted over the new rules, which led to significant delays. Several arrests by the authorities occurred in the city of 1.2 million people. The Kazan transport authority said 786 passengers had been evicted from trams and trolley buses and 126 from metro stations.
“Police detained at least five people,” Kazan’s Metroelectrotrans company said on its social media page. A number of bus conductors were hospitalized after being beaten and pepper sprayed, the Kazan Mayor’s Office said.
News outlet Business Online Tatarstan also reported higher taxi fares and a shortage of car-sharing services in light of QR requirements.
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The Kremlin said on Monday that transportation problems were unavoidable as the public adjusted to the new rules and expressed hope that the problems would be resolved soon.
The Kazan transport crisis comes as Russian lawmakers race to mandate vaccine passports for public transport, restaurants and non-essential shops in a bid to combat entrenched vaccine hesitancy.
The Russian parliament is expected to adopt the QR code requirement, which will take effect from February 1 to June 1, 2022, next month.