Saturday, January 16, 2021

During Lockdown, Russian Women Drank More, Gained Weight and Took Less Care of Themselves, New Study Finds

Paul Goble

            Staunton, January 13 – The restrictions the Russian authorities imposed last spring, including a lockdown, had a powerful impact on the behavior of Russians. Now Russian scholars are beginning to document these changes which, until now, have largely been the subject of journalistic reports or anecdotes.

            Yuliy Chilipenok, a Higher School of Economics sociologist in Nizhny Novgorod and her team, are among the first, focusing on the impact of the lockdown last spring on changes in the behavior of Russian women during the lockdown ( now summarized by Svetlana Soltanova at

            The scholars distributed a 69-question survey by social media to women in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Nizhny Novgorod and other urban centers and then analyzed the 384 questionnaires that were returned. Overwhelmingly, the responses showed that women felt they had more free time but that the isolation had led them “to a passive way of life, laziness and apathy.”

            “We did not see that women spent more time on the instruction of their children or the preparation of food, on studying or self-development or on household tasks,” the authors of the study say. Instead, they found that women under lockdown spent less time on looking after themselves and more on social networks, watching television and sleeping during the day.

            One in seven acknowledged drinking more, one in 14 smoking, and slightly more than one in four overeating.  Seventeen percent said that the time in lockdown had led to conflicts among family members.  According to the survey, few violated the lockdown even though 40 percent said it had led to a decline in their standard of living.

            Just under half reported money problems that had led them to stop making payments on communal services or debts, and one in four said they feared for the future of their family finances. More than a third (37 percent) said they saw nothing positive from the lockdown, clearly hoping it won’t happen again.

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