on the organization of the debate “Moldovan society amid pandemic: lessons learned, lessons to be learned”. Developing Political Culture through Public Debates”. Public debates series held by the news agency IPN in its conference room with the support of the German Foundation “Hanns Seidel”
Held on 29 May 2020, Debate No.137 brought together: Gheorghe Erizanu, editor of the Cartier Publishing House; Rodica Ciobanu, Doctor of Philosophy of the State University of Moldova and IPN project’s standing expert Igor Boțan.
Igor Boțan, the standing expert of IPN’s project, said a pandemic is a contagious disease that reaches particular proportions on a particular territory and a pandemic is declared when the contagion rate on a particular territory reaches 5%. It can spread over a whole country or the whole world. In the case of COVID-19, practically all the countries have been affected, with small exceptions. “If speaking about statistics, we see that the 5% rate was reached nowhere. So, it is something atypical. In the Republic of Moldova, we have 0.25% of citizens who contracted the virus. Nevertheless, this is very dangerous and we all know its effects. We all see that this pandemic attacked first of all the economy, affected our ordinary lifestyle and our daily activities,” stated the expert.
According to him, the effects are rater serious for society as it is expected that the economy will decline by about 6%, which is more than it was initially anticipated. At global level, the decline can be even more serious. More problems derive from here. “In such conditions, the people have to self-isolate longer and have more time to meditate on unsolved things. Among the things and phenomena generated by this pandemic were the adjustment to distance learning through information technology and extension of online trade. Ultimately, the governors, and not only those in the Republic of Moldova, had to fully review the activity of the health system,” stated Igor Boțan, noting that while managing the state of emergency, the Republic of Moldova took into account the recommendations of the World Health Organizations and was inspired by the practice of the countries of the region, of the European Union.
Gheorghe Erizanu, editor of the Cartier Publishing House, said the people during the pandemic behaved differently. Some of them respected the measures imposed during the pandemic and self-isolated, but in two months ascertained that the economy was stopped in vain as the daily number of infections during the last two weeks didn’t decrease. “I’m inclined to believe that this is due to the political activities and the events that took place at the start of May, on May 1 and May 9. I don’t know if this is enough. Prime Minister Chicu said the developments were due to the situation in transport. But the people are different. There are persons who became very empathic as we are inclined to empathy and the pandemic only stimulated this. We have shrewd persons who profited from the pandemic. Society is very different and not only in the Republic of Moldova. The people are the same everywhere,” stated Gheorghe Erizanu.
As regards the Moldovans who are abroad, Gheorghe Erizanu said a negative, reproaching attitude towards them was felt as the first person infected with COVID-19 was a migrant. The Moldovan migrants started to face problems and tried to return home. But the state didn’t welcome them and showed a careless attitude and later obliged them to purchase a health insurance policy. Almost everyone forgot that the migrants who found themselves in an unpleasant situation during over ten years have maintained those who remained in the country and contributed also to the public budget.
Rodica Ciobanu, Doctor of Philosophy of the State University of Moldova, said that probably each person initially thought that the pandemic was somewhere far away, not in our country. But in several days of the declaring of the state of emergency, everyone understood that things were not as simple as they seemed. “The battlefield between the pandemic and the people is in the social sphere. We are looking for rules because we got used to being rational, adjusted to a legal system and feel the need for regulations that we would respect and to which we would adjust our daily activities. When the pandemic changed the environment, the context, we found out that the Republic of Moldova was actually unprepared psychologically,” stated Rodica Ciobanu.
She noted that after staying indoors for two weeks, she went out and saw that there were many people on the streets of Chisinau. “A question appeared then, how rational and how aware of the consequences the people are and how responsible towards themselves and those around they are? The authorities then took measures, as in an organized system. But the measures taken to change the behavior in society will not have immediate effects as the behavior cannot be changed overnight and time is needed for this,” said Rodica Ciobanu.
The Agency published 4 news stories on the debate (see the English version of www.ipn.md): on 29.05.20, „Moldovan society amid pandemic: learned lessons, lessons to be learned. IPN debate” - https://www.ipn.md/en/moldovan-society-amid-pandemic-learned-lessons-lessons-to-be-learned-8004_1073865.html; on 30.05.20, „Igor Boțan: Effects of pandemic are rather serious for society” - https://www.ipn.md/en/igor-botan-effects-of-pandemic-are-rather-serious-for-society-8004_1073869.html; „Gheorghe Erizanu: COVID-19 revealed two serious problems we have experienced for 30 years” - https://www.ipn.md/en/gheorghe-erizanu-covid-19-revealed-two-serious-problems-we-have-8004_1073872.html; „Rodica Ciobanu: Each learned lesson is a solution to a problem” - https://www.ipn.md/en/rodica-ciobanu-each-learned-lesson-is-a-solution-to-a-8004_1073871.html.
IPN promoted the debate before and after the event, in particular the ensuing news stories, using all the available channels, including social networks. Confirmatory materials of deliverables, as well as a media coverage dossier are attached.
Valeriu Vasilica, director of IPN