Thursday, November 12, 2020

Pandemic Reduces Ethnic and Religious Conflicts but Increases Xenophobia and Aggression, Study Finds

Paul Goble

            Staunton, November 10 – In a new study, the Moscow Bureau for Human Rights says that the pandemic has had a contradictory impact on how people deal with one another. On the one hand, it has significantly reduced the number of conflicts based on ethnicity or religion. On the other, it has boosted aggression and hostility to outsiders (

            This pattern reflects the inability of people to spend as much time out of their residences and jobs, but it means that the pandemic is generating still-repressed anger that may explode at any time and will become a real threat when there is any easing of the coronavirus pandemic restrictions.

            A second report, by the agency for Political and Economic Communications says that an apocalyptic outcome of the pandemic, one involving the meltdown of Russian and other societies can’t be excluded ( Агентство политических и экономических коммуникаций).

            But both the most immediate and the most important conclusion may have been offered by an article in Nezavisimaya gazeta which says that the pandemic has undercut the notion that the Russian government is, as it likes to claim, powerful to be in control of everything. Now, the pandemic is on top, not the Kremlin (

            The government registered 20,977 new cases of infection and 368 new coronavirus deaths, bringing those totals respectively to 1,817,109 and 31,161 (, as the pandemic continued to surge across most places in the Russian Federation including the capitals.

            In response, the Moscow city authorities have announced a variety of new restrictions on theaters and concert halls, meetings, and restaurants and bars and extending them and outright closures into the new year (,,, and

            Officials in St. Petersburg have announced that in the face of the new surge, they will be taking ever more draconian steps in an effort to limit its impact ( And beyond the capitals, the authorities closed schools, ordered lockdowns for the elderly, and shut various kinds of business in a patchwork fashion (

            One of the more interesting steps has come in Magnitogorsk where the authorities have turned off wifi in the city’s squares and parks so that people will not congregate there and spread the virus (

            The announcement that US and German firms have come up with vaccines has sparked a discussion in Russia as to what that will mean economically and politically for Russia (  and

            Medical specialists are also warning that immunity to the virus may not emerge in many people either through infection or vaccination (

            Businesses fear that any lockdown will so depress consumer demand that entire sectors will be forced to close down, pushing up unemployment and further depressing the economy for a long time to come ( And new figures show that the number of migrant workers in Russia continues to fall (

            Meanwhile, in other pandemic-related developments in Russia today,

·         Mongolia has expressed anger at Buryatia for its failure to control the pandemic on its adjoining territory (

·         Russians are reducing the amount they are spending on holiday presents in order to save money in the event of a new lockdown (

·         Russians are displaying increasingly apathy in the face of the coronavirus threat, increasingly feeling there is nothing they or anyone else can do to save them (

·         Russian doctors fear that they will lose most or all of the bonuses they had been receiving for fighting the pandemic (

·         The former head of Interpol in Russia says the lockdown in Russia produced a sharp uptick in the amount of pedophilia. He described this as “a sexual war against children” (

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