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The less arrogance, the better

Чем меньше самоуверенности, тем лучше

Someone from friends has asked the question why Eastern European countries cope with the pandemic much better the more advanced in the economic and social plan States the Western tip of the continent. Infected and died in the latter much more than in the former socialist countries. I got interested and read what they say about themselves European media. The question there turns out to be debated quite actively. If to simplify, the essence of the case are as follows.

Doubting the capabilities of their relatively undeveloped health systems, the countries of Central and Eastern Europe entered quarantine and other social distancing rules much earlier than their more confident in their own abilities neighbors. The speed and decisiveness of their response determined the success.

Britain, for example, was closed on March 24, with 8 thousand infected. The Czech Republic has closed the border and shut down the school for nearly two weeks before on March 12. At that time the country was infected about 100 people. In Britain, the day Boris Johnson just said that to attend mass events like sports matches — it is not forbidden. On the same day the state of emergency imposed Slovakia. While there were recorded only 21 cases of infection. The next day was closed Poland. She at that time had 17 infected.

“We have no doubt that our hospitals can’t cope — then told the Minister of health of the Czech Republic Adam Wojtek, so we had to react quickly.”

Head of Greek Foundation for European and international relations Georgy Pagoulatos says: “Like other countries in Eastern and Central Europe, Greece felt the vulnerability of its health system. This forced our government to act faster Western counterparts, who were overconfident about the possibilities of their medicine.”

Doubting the capabilities of domestic physicians and hospitals, the public opinion in the countries of Eastern Europe are not too critical of the authorities. “The fact that we were aware of the vulnerability of our health care and has led to the fact that people are easily subject to the requirement to go into quarantine. This is because we do not trust the system,” says Bulgarian political scientist Ivan Krastev.

“In the West, people believed that their high-tech companies that have very strong health care system can handle anything. This created the illusion that they have the time and tools to solve the problem,” says Slawomir Debski, Director of the Polish Institute of international Affairs. According to him, unlike in Western Europe, the former Soviet bloc countries “a situation where the state cannot cope with their responsibilities, they are not scenes from a science fiction novel”. “We have it imprinted in memory,” he says.

In Western countries, politicians do not hurry to impose on citizens the limitations because I was not sure that society will approve of them. The British, for example, before you enter the quarantine, spent the whole of social research. Of course, it takes time. Habit to rely on public opinion in this case played with the West is a cruel joke. As said the former head of the Czech General staff, involved in the development of anticholinesterases strategy of his country, General Petr Pavel, in the former Communist countries, people are accustomed to the inconveniences and not so strongly opposed to government imposed restrictions.

In addition, the Eastern European countries helped, of course, that the virus they came later and were not applied so quickly. There are in fact poorer population and not traveling so often. Carriers of the coronavirus in those countries flew just physically smaller.

In General, it’s a classic dialectic. The moment of force at some point becomes a moment of weakness, and weakness, suddenly, is winning. In strategic terms, this does not change anything, just to keep the incident in mind. In the future it will be necessary to act on the basis of new experience. The less arrogance, the better.

Perhaps this is the main lesson of the coronavirus.


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