As tensions rise across the United States, people continue to be impacted by lockdowns and the spread of COVID-19. We asked our participants if they saw any political or economic flashpoints in their countries as a result of the pandemic.
–Jesse Smeal, Rome, Italy
None had really developed by early April. As the crisis goes on many have suffered economically. I personally had to close both of my shops due to lack of revenue and government support.
–Ann Merrill, Kyiv, Ukraine
Tens of thousands of Ukrainians lost their jobs or are on furlough. However, businesses that were allowed to stay open, like grocery stores and delivery services, were hiring. The Ministry of Economy estimates that most Ukrainians can survive only one month without income, and we are now beyond that point. The government is working to enact support programs to help citizens and businesses.
– Tatiana Shchytssova, Vilnius, Lithuania
Yes, in Belarus there are many inspiring examples of civic activity. Top-down initiatives aim mostly at helping doctors (providing them with masks etc.)
–Adela Muchova, Prague, Czechia
Major economic and political impacts seem to be rather high, strict prevention measures, such as closing most businesses, affected most of the population. There were also some attempts to misuse the crisis situation for the government to obtain more power (like in Hungary and Poland). These attempts were fortunately suppressed by opposition, media, and active citizens´ initiatives (so the situation is different from that of Hungary and Poland at the moment). In addition, some politicians misused the situation to mount unjustified criticism of the European Union. For instance, ministries of public health are independent from the EU, so their unpreparedness in terms of medical tools is solely the responsibility of national governing bodies. All this has been accelerated by the disinformation campaigns of Russian fake-news networks.
<<Come back tomorrow for another post with answers from Hungary, Russia, and Georgia!