A Russian celebrity who suffered from coronavirus was needed before the seriousness of the disease began to spread to both ordinary Russians and the country's elite.
Legendary singer Lev Leshchenko, 78, has become a "zero patient" in Russian show business - a potential contagion for other celebrities.
Lev Leshchenko is known for his patriotic songs.
Photo: Anton Novoderezhkin / TASS / AOP
Leshchenko is a straightforward concept in Russia and an award-winning stage singer.
In Finland, Leshchenko is perhaps best remembered for the legendary closing song of the 1980 Moscow Olympics, Do svidanija, Moscow. Today, Leshtshenko is a close associate of President Vladimir Putin, and his version of the song 'Den' Pobedy 'is an absolute classic of the Russian Victory Day.
(Do Svidanija, Moskva is played by Lev Leshchenko and Tatyana Antsiferova in the video below.)
So, in Russia, Leshtshenko is known to everyone - and he knows the country's elite, including singers, actors, journalists and politicians. Before his illness was discovered, Leshtshenko, in turn, had time to contact countless prominent figures.
Denis Protsenko, director of the Kommunarkka Infectious Hospital, confirmed Leschenko's publicity with his permission on Friday. At the same time, Protsenko said that the artist was already in better condition and could have been removed from the ventilator.
Leshtshenko is believed to have been infected either on his US tour or on his return trip as he flew to Moscow via France. He returned to his home country on March 11.
However, when he returned, he did not retire to volunteer quarantine, but attended a celebrity birthday party, performed with the Red Army Choir at a concert, and was a guest on a TV show. He applied to the hospital on March 24.
During the recording of Andrei Malahov's talkshow, Leshtshenko marveled at the coronavirus rage. At that time, he was apparently unknowingly the carrier of the infection.
- I just came back from America. There is no coronavirus hysteria there. All the restaurants are full and my gigs were sold out, he told Newsru.com.
- I think that this is done on purpose - the fear-mongering. Who does it, I can't say when I'm neither a politician nor an economist. But I feel that the situation has been created artificially. The best way to avoid serious consequences is to continue living as you did before, Leshtshenko declared.
On March 13, Leshtshenko met several celebrities at the birthday of composer Igor Kruto Alla's sister. The guests were at least singers Irina Allegrova, Oleg Gazmanov, Vladimir Vinokur, Nikolai Baskov, Igor Nikolayev, Alexander Rozenbaum, Valery Leontiev, Alexander Serov, Ani Lorak, Jasmin and Alsou.
Nikolaev has since been diagnosed with pneumonia and is awaiting the results of his coronavirus test.
President Putin's press secretary Dmitri Peskov and his wife, ex-skater star Tatyana Navka, also attended the same birthday party. Both have said they are doing well.
In a televised speech on Wednesday, Putin urged the Russians to take the coronavirus a reality.
- Don't trust our Russian tour. Don't think, as we usually do, "well it doesn't touch me." It can touch anyone, Putin insisted.
By now, Russians understand the importance of those words.
The author is a specialist journalist for Ilta-Sanomat in Russia.