Ștefan Popov: Population followed bad example of representatives of power

The people in fact form two categories by their attitudes to the anti-epidemic norms – those who recognize the existence of SARS-Cov-2 and the possibility of protecting themselves and those who deny the existence of the virus and perceive it as “a viral infection that passes through you”, psychologist Ștefan Popov, head of the Center of Scientific Research in Psychology, stated in IPN’s public debate “Pandemic as a divergent factor for Moldovan society”, referring to the former President’s assertion.

Ștefan Popov noted that this message had a very powerful impact in society and those who wear the mask under the chin or under the nose do it not in order to protect themselves, but to avoid a conflict. If the person is warned, this draws the mask as it should be worn and the problem “is solved”.

Wondering where this skepticism comes from, the expert mentioned a number of mistakes in the public message formulated by the authorities, primarily at the start of the pandemic, which was disseminated by the media. “There was considerable incoherence. On the one hand, they said that the virus is dangerous. On the other hand, representatives of the power didn’t obey the rules themselves and didn’t give an example of compliance. There was also a psychological aspect: the often modification of restrictions, every week, with some of these looking very bizarre to the citizens.”

The psychologist noted that such things confuse. The persons who initially had a responsible attitude were irritated by authorities’ contradictory messages. “Emotionally, the people start to reject all these and begin to be concerned about the own sorrows. For example, the people do not really understand the logic and efficiency of the norm to maintain physical distance of 1.5 meters in public transport when such a distance cannot be maintained in overcrowded public transport,” he stated.

As to the necessity of making a global sacrifice so as to cope with the challenges of the pandemic, which was invoked by another debate participant Ala Tocarciuc, Ștefan Popov said it is worth making a sacrifice when there is coherence in actions. When these are chaotic, the people consider that the imposed norms do not produce the expected result. The people can be understood as they are told to stay at home, but concerts, festivals, parties and other events are allowed.

Speaking about the causes that turned the pandemic into one more factor that divides society, the expert said the social networking sites have a considerable influence and any opinion there can become decisive. “Instead of trusting medicine, the people believe the opinion of bloggers and clerics.”

The public debate titled “Pandemic as a divergent factor for Moldovan society” was staged by IPN News Agency in the framework of the Developing Political Culture through Public Debates Project that is supported by the Hanns Seidel Foundation.

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