Russian society in the era of the COVID-19 pandemic

Gontmakher E.Sh.


The COVID-19 pandemic continues to have a significant impact on Russian social processes. However, surveys show that people are much more concerned about such long-running current problems as rising prices, poverty, and the quality of the healthcare system. This is due to the high degree of adaptability of Russian society to the realities of the pandemic and the profound underestimation of its medical consequences. But if the pandemic continues for a few more years, with excess mortality remaining high, public opinion is likely to react more acutely to COVID-19. However, this assumption may not be justified due to the fact that further deterioration of social standards of living (decline in real incomes and quality of provision of non-standard medical services, deterioration of the living environment), which has been going on almost continuously since 2014, may become a more powerful trigger for the growth of public anxiety than a pandemic. The COVID-19 vaccination campaign has revealed something that has been maturing in Russian society for quite a long time: the conscious alienation of the majority of the adult population from the state as an institution. Despite all rational arguments of the experts calling for vaccination, in many cases this is overlaid by the subconscious belief that if the state calls for this, then there is some kind of a catch hidden here. This mood in the mass consciousness is supported by low-grade propaganda in the media, as well as a growing distrust of government statistics. Prolonged stress associated with the deterioration of the quality of life and the uncertainty of the prospects for reversing this trend leads to an increasing emotional «burnout» of significant groups of the population and, above all, low-income families and the lowermiddle class. The COVID-19 pandemic has seriously aggravated the situation. Only joint actions of the state and society can adequately answer them and therefore ensure the successful future of Russia. But the current situation, characterized by an increasingly inefficient and archaic state and a gradually fading society, creates real risks for solving this vital task for the country. Therefore, the main challenge for today's Russia is to rid it of this institutional and emotional disorder.


society; COVID-19; socio-economic prospects; emotional burnout.

DOI: 10.31249/rsm/2022.02.05

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