The Coronavirus Epidemics: Belarusians Do not Keep Calm but Carry on

Belarusian soldiers during the Victory Day Parade in Minsk are wearing no masks. May 2020. Source: BBC.

Since the first case of Covid-19 has been reported in Belarus in February, it did not seem to significantly affect the life of Belarusians. For some time, the authorities have been in the phase of denial of the coronavirus-related threat. Unlike in the rest of Europe, despite the rising numbers of the cases, the ’last dictatorship of Europe’ has opted for a liberal approach towards fighting the epidemics. In fact, Aleksander Lukashenka, the head of the state since 1994, often deliberately belittled the problem.

Yet, the Belarusian society seems to be deeply divided over the coronavirus threat. While some people take it seriously, others believe that strict measures such as quarantine, would cause devastating economic harm.

The Covid-19 Lockdown Challenges Religious Poles

The street confession next to the Temple of Divine Providence on Good Friday, Wilanow, Warsaw. Source: euractive.com

The coronavirus-related lockdown has forced millions of Poles to drastically change their lifestyle. In particular, the ban on public gathering has been carrying severe implications for all social actors, including churches and their members. Unlike many other European countries, 40% of Polish adults describe themselves as highly religious [1] and they might have found the restraints more difficult to cope with. With the lockdown, religion in Poland went almost completely private instead of being collectively practiced in churches.