Small Consolations Open Thread (Russia Edition)

At least Betsy deVos hasn’t been responsible for any Amway-branded outbreaks of dysentery in America’s charter schools… that we know of. Yet:

Yaroslav was one of 127 children aged 3 to 7 who were diagnosed with dysentery after eating food at seven state-run day care centers and kindergartens in Moscow in mid-December.

While reports of dysentery are not new in Russia, they mostly have struck provincial areas far from the capital and in much smaller outbreaks. Even more unusual is that the catering firm blamed by opposition activists for the outbreak at six of the seven Moscow sites is owned by businessman Yevgeny Prigozhin, a close ally of President Vladimir Putin.

Prigozhin, who has won $2 billion in contracts for supplying food to Moscow schools since 2009, built an empire on catering and maintenance contracts for the army and has been nicknamed “Putin’s chef” for serving Kremlin functions. He also has been reported to run a private military company known as Wagner that sends Russian contractors to Syria and other countries.

The magnate was among the Russians indicted last year by a U.S. grand jury in the investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller, alleging he funded the internet trolls involved in interfering with the U.S. presidential election in 2016. The U.S. also imposed sanctions on Prigozhin and two of his companies, Concord Catering and Concord Management and Consulting. Prigozhin has denied any involvement, and Putin said last year that while he knew the businessman, he “doesn’t count him” among his friends.[*]

Prigozhin’s company has denied it is to blame for the dysentery outbreak. The cases have caused an outcry, thanks to a lawyer who has turned a spotlight on the caterers and has mounted a campaign to help the parents whose children fell ill…

The Federal Consumer Oversight Agency confirmed 127 cases of dysentery. At public hearings in March, the capital’s chief sanitary official, Yelena Andreyeva, denied early reports that blamed it on cottage cheese supplied by a company from southern Russia. Health and education officials would not say whether the outbreak would make them reconsider signing new contracts with Concord.

Six companies that are either directly owned by Prigozhin or affiliated with him have controlled almost all school and kindergarten catering in Moscow since 2011, providing prepared meals that can be reheated at school kitchens, according to public filings and the Spark-Interfax database…

Or, y’know, we could treat this as a warning of what happens when the Dear Leader’s cronies are allowed to turn government agencies into for-profit opportunities. Even if “science is a Democrat thing“.

[*] Seems like Prigozhin may have to be sacrificed for the good of the Russian-American Oligarchs Friendship Pact, but I’m no for-pol expert…






24 replies
  1. 1
    ThresherK says:

    The musical–the musical of Carrie made Jeopardy! tonight.

  2. 2
    TenguPhule says:

    Or, y’know, we could treat this as a warning of what happens when the Dear Leader’s cronies are allowed to turn government agencies into for-profit opportunities.

    Everyone knows a little food poisoning builds character. //s

  3. 3
    Baud says:

    I’m waiting for scurvy to make its comeback.

  4. 4
    TenguPhule says:

    @Baud:

    I’m waiting for scurvy to make its comeback.

    Everyone knows that ketchup is a fruit. //

  5. 5

    @Baud:
    The food processing industry will never let that happen. They can make good money adding vitamin C to everything.

  6. 6
    NotMax says:

    “Our ancestors had dysentery, why can’t we?” //

  7. 7
    NotMax says:

    @Baud

    Rickets first, scurvy later. Priorities.

  8. 8
    TenguPhule says:

    @NotMax:

    “Our ancestors had dysentery, why can’t we?” //

    “Don’t you know there are poor people in China who would gladly….oh wait.”

  9. 9
    JPL says:

    @NotMax: If trump is reelected all that I can hope for is that the maga’s get it first.

  10. 10
    lollipopguild says:

    @TenguPhule: Thanks to Reagan ketchup and pickles are vegetables.

  11. 11
    JaySinWA says:

    The cases have caused an outcry, thanks to a lawyer who has turned a spotlight on the caterers and has mounted a campaign to help the parents whose children fell ill…

    I hope that lawyer has a great bodyguard and lots of luck.

  12. 12

    Today I picked up a ticket to see Neil Gaiman and Nick Offerman talking about Good Omens next week. Looking forward to that. A little steep at $55 including Ticketmaster fees, but it comes with a signed copy of the book, which I’ve been meaning to buy anyway, since I seem to have lost my copy around 2004.

  13. 13
    Ohio Mom says:

    @Roger Moore: Vitamin C/abscorbic acid acts as a food preservative so yes, it is added to many mass-produced food stuffs.

    At this point, almost all of the world’s abscorbic acid is produced in China. Why don’t we consider this something of a national security issue? Isn’t food preservation essential?

  14. 14
    JaySinWA says:

    @Ohio Mom: Surely we could switch to locally produced formaldehyde. //

  15. 15
    VOR says:

    @TenguPhule: Shh, don’t give them any ideas. Trump appointees at the EPA are working on new rules under the theory that small doses of radiation and toxins are actually good for you. I wish I was joking. https://www.latimes.com/local/california/la-me-secret-science-20190219-story.html

  16. 16

    @VOR: Trump is a proponent of the theory “whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”. Oh, except exercise, which definitely kills you.

  17. 17

    @VOR: Yes, but the sound from windmills causes cancer.

  18. 18
    grandmaBear says:

    @Major Major Major Major: I’m envious, and I’d definitely pay that much if I were close enough to go.

  19. 19
    Dan B says:

    @VOR: Reminds me of my childhood in the Akron area. You could gorecast the weather based upon what the air smelled like. And there was that river that kept catching fire until it burned a major bridge. Fond memories.

  20. 20
    Brachiator says:

    Or, y’know, we could treat this as a warning of what happens when the Dear Leader’s cronies are allowed to turn government agencies into for-profit opportunities. Even if “science is a Democrat thing“.

    Sanitation, public health and food processing issues. It’s not the “for profit” part that is a problem. It’s the cronyism and authoritarianism.

    It’s also sad how the story blandly notes that the disease is a common problem in less developed areas of the country.

  21. 21
    chopper says:

    i mean, i always love a good “man your lkids’ school could be worse” story, but dysentery? dysentery?. dang.

  22. 22
    TenguPhule says:

    @Ohio Mom:

    Isn’t food preservation essential?

    That’s what ungodly amounts of salt are for. //

  23. 23

    @Ohio Mom:

    At this point, almost all of the world’s abscorbic acid is produced in China. Why don’t we consider this something of a national security issue?

    Ascorbic acid is produced by fermenting sugar with specific bacteria. It’s not a high-tech business or one that depends on scarce supplies. China has taken over the industry because they’re able to produce it cheaply. If they decide for some reason to try to screw over the world by refusing to sell it, somebody else can take over production in short order.

  24. 24
    rikyrah says:

    Such a sad story😠😠

Comments are closed.