The rise in counterfeit vaccine certificates has enranged one Russian lawmaker who proposed that anyone who buys or sells certificates be executed by firing squad. He even said he would pull the trigger himself.
Vladimir Sidorov, a Russian lawmaker from the ruling United Russia party serving in the region of Duma in Ryazan, told fellow legislators on Tuesday the need for harsher punishments for people who buy and sell the documents illegally. "It is necessary to shoot them," he shouted.
Sidorov said he "would participate in the shootings." "Be sure to do it! You and I have no other choice," he urged fellow lawmakers.
The emotionally charged lawmaker immediately walked back his speech after it went viral on social media and sparked criticism among netizens. He said he was emotionally overwhelmed during his rant after the loss of his wife to COVID. He did emphasize that anyone who buys or sells fake vaccination certificates should face "tough punishment." He added that "no one likes restrictions, but vaccination is the key to surviving a pandemic."
As Russians flock to the black market for fake vaccine certificates, provincial lawmaker Vladimir Sidorov offers a solution: Shoot them all.— Matthew Luxmoore (@mjluxmoore) November 24, 2021
“I’d join the firing squad myself,” he says, apparently not joking. Obviously the United Russia member never did anything to skirt rules. pic.twitter.com/4CyYvMPzpw
Shindorov's call for harsher punishments coincided with the Russian Ministry of Health's proposal to slap anyone who sells fake vaccination cards with fines up to $67,150. The severity of the penalty depends on if the person acted alone or as part of an organized crime gang.
Russian Deputy Prime Minister Tatyana Golikova announced plans earlier this month to make QR codes on smartphones a form of health passport for entry into restaurants and retail shops across the country to combat counterfeit vaccines certificates.
Russia is battling the fourth wave of the virus pandemic as the death toll continues to climb to near all-time highs, but the number of new infections has waned. The surge in deaths comes amid low vaccination rates.
Governments worldwide are cracking down on fake COVID certificates. No politician (besides one in Russia) has dared to mention they would execute someone for selling fake vaxx cards but rather slap them with hefty fines.