The planet worries once: Belarus, George Floyd and the coronavirus

Table of contents:

The planet worries once: Belarus, George Floyd and the coronavirus
The planet worries once: Belarus, George Floyd and the coronavirus

2020 turned out to be rich in disasters: a pandemic, a financial crisis, and then unrest in the United States and Belarus arrived in time. Not surprisingly, the crisis exacerbates existing problems in society. Let's look at the causes of unrest from the point of view of psychology.


Chronology of events in Belarus

On May 21, an election campaign began in Belarus to collect signatures in favor of candidates. On May 29, during a picket to collect signatures in favor of one of the candidates, Svetlana Tikhanovskaya for the post of head of the republic, her husband, opposition leader and ex-nominee for the presidency of the country, and several other people were detained. And the very next day, a criminal case was opened on the fact of violence against law enforcement officers in a clash with activists, and Tikhanovsky, along with other detainees, was placed in a pre-trial detention center.

On May 31, the security forces detained another opposition leader, Mikalai Statkevich, as well as the leader of the "Young Front" Denis Urbanovich. On the same day, at the picket to collect signatures in support of Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, a live chain of people gathered - several thousand people. On June 7, the actions continued and gathered a picket from 800 to 1300 people, including the leaders of some opposition parties. On June 18, in connection with the detention of other political figures, a rally in Minsk gathered more than three thousand people. People clapped their hands and chanted "Let go!" and "Go away!"


In total, seven of the most popular opposition bloggers were detained from June 15 to June 27. And already in late July and early August, thousands of rallies were held throughout the country. In Minsk, a protest rally gathered as many as 63 thousand people, for which it was called the most massive rally in Belarus since 1991. Many of the protests were disrupted by the security forces. Similar actions demanding the release of oppositionists at the embassies of Belarus were held in more than twenty countries of the world.

And the European Union even threatened the country with a new batch of sanctions. On the night of August 9-10, thousands of rallies swept across the country, during which the police used tear gas, water cannons and stun grenades. Physical violence was also widespread, including hitting people with cars. On August 12-13, strikes swept across the country by workers of some factories, doctors of certain hospitals and prisoners in prisons. At the same time, problems with Internet access appeared in the country.

Timeline of events in the USA

Almost simultaneously with the events in Belarus, something extraordinary is happening in the United States. It all started with an unremarkable unemployed 46-year-old man named George Floyd, who on the evening of May 25 paid with a counterfeit $ 20 bill for a pack of cigarettes in a Minneapolis store (more precisely, the seller had a suspicion of a counterfeit banknote). A police patrol, led by 44-year-old officer Derek Michael Chauvin, arrived to call 911. The latter pressed Floyd's neck to the ground with his knee and held him in this position for at least seven minutes.

All this was filmed by random passers-by, who later posted the recording on Facebook. Floyd repeatedly repeated the phrase, which later became the slogan of the activists: "I can't breathe." And he expressed his readiness to obey all the demands of the policeman, but he continued to hold the guy, pressing him to the ground. Although very soon the latter calmed down and no longer showed signs of life.

At the same time, the unknown person told the security officials behind the scenes: “You have already detained him. Give him room to breathe. "Floyd himself told Chauvin that he was "going to die", but he advised him to "relax." He relaxed - forever. By the way, John Floyd was not such a harmless guy - he had at least five prison terms on his account. The last time he served five years for armed robbery. But “don't put a finger in your mouth” to Derek Shovin - he opened fire on people three times, he has unintentional killings and 18 complaints of ill-treatment of detainees. And all would be fine, but Floyd was a "black guy", and Chauvin was white.

The policeman, along with his colleagues involved in the incident, were fired the next day (what prevented him from doing this earlier, after all, there were reasons?), But too late: a flame had already flared up from a spark. From the next day it began. First, the protests took place in Minneapolis, at the same bus stop where the long-suffering Floyd died, and after two or three days spread throughout the country.

The initially peaceful demonstrations escalated into pogroms, burning of shops, trash cans and the US flag, the demolition of monuments to Columbus (accused of genocide against the Native American population) and shootings. Several dozen cities were simultaneously declared a state of emergency (for the first time since the assassination of Martin Luther King in 1968), and Donald Trump even went down to the bunker.


Together with black activists, movements for the rights of various minorities, including representatives of non-traditional sexual orientation, have revived. In recent years, the defense of their rights has become more extremist than just in nature: slogans are being put forward not about tolerance and equality, but about reverse discrimination. In general, in the United States, everything is grown-up and the riots do not subside until now. A wave of more peaceful anti-racist protests swept across Europe.

Stress hormones and the Sarajevo murder

The untimely death of George Floyd is the same "cause" of riots in the United States as the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in 1914 - the cause of the outbreak of the First World War. It is clear that this case became just a pretext, and the COVID-19 pandemic - a catalyst for already existing problems - primarily economic and social.

The United States has long and long lived at the expense of the rest of the world. And their economic situation was better than now: after the collapse of the USSR, as you know, they were the world leader. Today, the ability of Americans to live off other countries is dwindling. And then there is the Celestial Empire with its "Chinese miracle", which, according to some estimates, has already surpassed the size of the American economy.

First of all, of course, it is not the elite that suffers from this, but the lower classes: first of all, social payments are reduced. People are beginning to be indignant, wanting to live today at least no worse than yesterday. The crisis in the United States began even before the pandemic and was only exacerbated by it. About 39 million Americans have lost their jobs in recent years. America has not seen this since the Great Depression, so the current situation has been compared to the crisis of the 1960s. Add to this the extremely high mortality rate from coronavirus and the unpreparedness of local health care for such a large-scale disaster.


What does it mean? The fact that many Americans have experienced extreme stress (some have lost loved ones, some have lost their jobs, and some have all at once), and most have a serious fear of both. It is known that fear causes a powerful release of stress hormones into the blood - cortisol, adrenaline and norepinephrine. These hormones are responsible for the strength, power and attack of the body in response to danger. Mobilization resources are increased, causing the well-known fight-or-flight response.

Adrenaline, for example, raises our heart rate, making our main motor run faster. Such an organism's response is programmed by evolution - it gives strength and the ability to escape from a predator (or scare it) or, for example, memorize educational material in a short time in order to pass the exam. And if there is no adequate way out for these powerful reactions, they, like water, begin to look for a way out on their own.

One can imagine how the situation becomes more complicated in a state of prolonged stress - hormones are produced, and the reaction has nowhere to go. In order to somehow compensate for the release of stress - the body either goes into illness (psychosomatics) or into antisocial behavior (then the exacerbation of domestic violence begins, which many countries of the world spoke about during self-isolation).

The brain is unconsciously looking for an excuse to throw out the accumulated negative emotions. The easiest and shortest way to do this is through motor skills (read - physical violence). Therefore, against the background of prolonged and severe stress, the accumulated and "dormant" internal conflicts begin to escalate.

The wall of silence and the memory of ancestors

In such a field, age-old problems are growing wildly, the main of which in the United States is racism. By the way, in the 1960s, a wave of protests against racism also swept - at the same time Martin Luther King was killed. America coped with the problem by passing a series of laws: removing benches for whites, allocating quotas for African Americans in terms of jobs or movie characters. The first wave of resentment was knocked down, but racism remained. Now they are talking about the second wave, but it is not very clear how to bring it down.

Racism itself is based on the repression of unacceptable traits (the quintessence of the saying about the beam in the eye), as well as on the natural rejection of the “other” who is not like us or our loved ones. This is probably an innate property intended to protect against enemy tribes in the past. Today it backfired on us with racism.

If you analyze history and ethnography, you will notice that in a primitive society there is a desire to subjugate dissimilar or hostile peoples - apparently, this, among other things, is the basis of the institution of slavery, which once flourished in the United States. Blacks were slaves, whites were masters. It is not surprising that racial hatred, both on the one hand and on the other, has become so widespread in this country. Despite the many laws passed, the conflict is still relevant. Even science confirms this.


For example, a study by the American professor Geoffrey Watke, using long-term survey data of 44,873 US residents. All interviewees were Europeans, and there were no African Americans. The results were as follows: 88.8 percent said they support coeducation in school for white and black children, and 71.5 percent believed that there is a problem of discrimination in the labor market for African Americans.

At the same time, only 11.8 percent of respondents agree with the adoption of laws that would fight this state of affairs, 38.1 percent of white Americans believe that blacks are lazy, 18, 3 are uneducated, 29, 3 - do not want to have African American neighbors. and only 23.1 percent of those surveyed really want their children to take the same bus to school with black children.

The already unstable US boat is being rocked by Democrats who support anti-racist protests. Therefore, some analysts say that at the end of the year, the unrest should subside, because in November the elections. Others are sure that the country is so rocked that unrest will only intensify, because long-standing problems remain and it will simply not be possible to extinguish the fanned flame.

Not to mention the fact that a large percentage of the US population today is Hispanic - natives of Brazil, Chile, Uruguay, Paraguay and, of course, Mexico. And so far they have not shown themselves in any way, although they are also in a rather shaky legal position - many of them, as you know, are illegal migrants. Another big question for the country is the huge amount of weapons in the hands of the common population. And, accordingly, in the hands of criminals or radical organizations. For example, the party "Black Panthers" (today the party calls itself "New Black Panthers"), created in the days of Martin Luther King and still exists today.

Another long-standing problem in the United States is the well-known blue wall of silence, that is, simply covering up crimes committed by police officers. And there are a lot of them, because American law allows police officers to do almost everything they want. For example, it is groundless to shoot a person or encroach on something sacred - private property. There are widely known cases when a policeman entered the courtyard of a private house to say that the owner had an open window in the car, and when the owner's dog ran at him, he simply shot at her.

One gets the feeling that in the USA you can be killed, even if you reached into your pocket for documents, because it is unclear whether you will get a passport or a pistol. This could not but lead to a crisis that happened exactly when there were already enough problems, as they say. This is understandable, because trouble does not come alone, precisely because during a crisis (and, as a result, stress), all the conflicts that had been dormant before are exacerbated.

The people are tired

Peaceful protests in Belarus, of course, are not the same as bloody pogroms in the United States. But there is something in common between them - the social and economic crisis, which has forced the current problems to aggravate. And then there is the “unfortunate” geographical position of Belarus, which is strategically important for both Russia and the West. If you drag the "last island of the USSR" to your side, then Russia will be surrounded by a belt not of three, but of four hostile states (including Ukraine, Poland and Lithuania). Lukashenka is trying to squeeze something for Belarus from both sides. Before the elections, for example, he began to play the Russian card, detaining Russian guards and other unintelligible persons.

One of the main reasons for the Belarusian protests is clear - Lukashenka is simply tired of it. But it is unclear whether they would have been so large-scale if the coronavirus had not arrived in time with its heap of problems like unemployment and the economic crisis. There is also reason to believe that those who do not miss the possibility of a coup d'etat similar to the Euromaidan are trying to use the turmoil that has begun in Belarus.

Meanwhile, the Belarusian political scientist Pyotr Petrovsky believes that the people are not tired of Lukashenka at all, he blames the pandemic for everything. After all, the year has started well - public sector employees have raised their salaries by 30 percent. But COVID-19 violated all plans, and then "Father" behaved extremely expressively, flaunting his brutality in front of the virus, calling what was happening "a mental house" and indirectly blaming the dead from the coronavirus (they say, they played little hockey), not wanting to introduce quarantine and cancel mass events.

Even schools were not closed, although only about 30-40 percent of students attended classes. Therefore, teachers had to conduct additional distance lessons, which no one paid for. Despite the fact that oppositional Belarusian websites and some representatives of the Russian government stated that the epidemiological situation in Belarus is much more serious than in Russia. And all the pranks of Lukashenka, to which they previously turned a blind eye (the appearance of beautiful girls in society, for example), now began to cause strong irritation.

However, most Minsk experts are still confident that Lukashenka was in a very vulnerable position even without the coronavirus, since he made a number of mistakes, the first of which was the permanent presidency for 26 years. Firstly, people simply get tired, and, secondly, the authorities themselves “relax”, ceasing to act carefully and logically. Minsk political scientist Valery Karbalevich believes that the president's mistakes were superimposed on the pandemic, the economic crisis that caused it, and the fact that the Belarusian economic model seems to have exhausted its resources: the average salary in the country has not increased over the past ten years.

The experience of Belarus and the United States makes one think. First of all, that even in a country that is fairly prosperous in appearance, there is always a risk of aggravation of the accumulated problems against the background of a serious cataclysm.Today, this includes the pandemic, which so far, it seems, is not going to give up positions. And for this, in fact, any pretext that would reflect the existing problem can be used, be it American racism or Russian corruption.

Popular by topic