An empty street around St. Pettersburg, Russia (The Editor/Ksenia)

MOSCOW – About the events that make 2020, a year of unfulfilled dreams and desires, a year of disappointments and losses. I am talking about the pandemic of the coronovirus or covid-19 infection, which began its development safely in December 2019 in China and by February already spread to most countries of the world.

While the Chinese people took tough measures to combat the epidemic, which included the introduction of strict self-isolation, the closure of all catering establishments and the cancellation of public events, the wearing of masks on the streets and in public places, people around the world continued to travel without emphasizing what’s happening.

What happened next? I think it is logical that the virus was introduced to other continents and countries and already there began to spread freely, affecting an increasing number of people.

In mid-March 2020, when the epidemic was already raging in the USA and Europe, Russia responsibly declared that everything was under control. Russians arriving from abroad are sent for observation to hospitals, each case of the disease in the country is recorded and all patients receive the necessary medical care. It all started naturally from Moscow, as it is the main transport hub connecting Russia and foreign cities and countries.

The Russian government chose a tactic that, in their opinion, made it possible to avoid panic among the country’s inhabitants, and also raised doubts among many citizens whether this pandemic really exists. That is why, when the recommendation mode of self-isolation and wearing personal protective equipment was introduced, most people ignored these recommendations and continued to live their normal lives, visiting cafes and restaurants, shopping centers and public events.

Further, it only got worse and the country’s leadership came to the conclusion that without strict restrictive measures, it was impossible to control the spread of the disease and introduced a strict access regime and mandatory self-isolation, violators of which had to pay a fine. All catering establishments and shopping centers were closed, concerts and public events were canceled, many companies transferred their employees to online- work and training at schools and universities continued remotely.

The victory parade, which has been held for 75 years in honor of the victory in the 2nd World War, also had to be canceled (rescheduled). And the most basic decision that was made by the country’s leadership is to close the borders with other countries for an indefinite period. Now those residents who were abroad during this period will be able to get home only with special charter flights organized by the government with further observation and home self-isolation.

These measures were applied in particular to Moscow, because the largest percentage of cases was in the capital, as well as in the region. In theory, people could now go only to the grocery store and go for a walk with the dog, no further than 100 meters from their own home. For all other movements, it was necessary to obtain a pass, which is valid for several hours and after which it should be obtained again.

Along with this, the president issues a decree that the first week of April will be considered a day off, with the preservation of wages, and people will only need to stay at home and observe self-isolation.

Sounds good. The only thing that was required of people was just to stay at home. But no! The people took this step as complete freedom of action and a week-long vacation. Everyone did not give a damn about the pandemic and the threat of the spread of the virus. People went to parks, picnics, and some even flew to resorts such as Sochi and Crimea.

What happened next?

I think it became obvious to everyone what consequences this week of vacations entailed, which later turned into a month. Yes exactly. “Presidential vacation” dragged on until April 30th. I remind, with the preservation of jobs and wages. Is this not a fairy tale? I will answer no. This is a nigtmare for entrepreneurs and business, because in spite of all the decrees, companies were forced to lay off employees and reduce salaries in order to survive.

Why was this done? It is difficult to answer this question with complete confidence. It is possible, in order to reduce the burden on medical institutions and medical staff, to give time to re-profile conventional medical centers and hospitals into infectious ones. This is the most logical of all possible explanations. And then there was May, the first half of which was also a national holiday, and the second flew by at the speed of light. Then June and now is July.

Honestly, at some point, I stopped following in the media what is happening in the country, watching statistics and listening to the president’s speeches. This whole situation is so exhausting, took all the moral strength. There was a desire to just run away, hide somewhere far in the forest and stay there alone, without a phone and the Internet, just in silence.

What’s happening now?

While many countries managed to open their borders and restore their infrastructure completely, Russia still “does not work”. Borders are closed, many companies, shops, shopping centers and restaurants too. Only delivery and pickup points are possible. If any resident of the country is asked to answer the question of what is happening, with a probability of 99% he will say: I do not know. Therefore, the best description of the present times is status: awaiting. Good or bad, bright or foggy future, which will come sooner or later.

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