Ilyumzhinov: It is unlikely that we would remember the outgoing year with gratitude. Still, we should consider its legacy

I never tire of being amazed at how carefree humanity is. Let's ask ourselves: could we imagine, raising our glasses at the festive table a year ago, that 2020 would turn out to be the year that we wouldn't even want to remember later?

Yes, two thousand and twenty year fully confirmed the notoriety of leap years. Still, epidemics and catastrophes happen in ordinary years. And all we could do to face the new challenge was to set the quarantine invented by the Venetians six centuries ago.


This old invention affected people all over the world so much that, for example, “lockdown” became the word of the year in Great Britain. It also corresponds to "self-isolation” in our country. It turned out that in an overly globalized world, it is not very easy to isolate people and countries, even in order to save human lives. The world as we knew it fell apart faster than a house of cards. Most of the countries instantly closed their borders, and we most likely will not return to the usual ease of travel.

I am talking not even so much about freedom of movement as about the fact that under the pretext of global quarantine, many states have tried to minimize existing cooperation with other countries in their own interests. For decades, our predecessors tried to sew humanity into a single whole, but the pandemic questioned this fragile unity.
The global economic has been hit the hardest of all. The vivid example is oil epic, when the cost of hydrocarbon raw materials went into the minus in some places in the spring! Financiers will also remember for a long time what happened (and continues to happen) on stock exchanges around the world. But we must to admit that this fever only confirmed what has long been known: an excessive enthusiasm for speculation eventually entails collapse.
Last spring, we witnessed several scandals, when richer and powerful countries bought batches of protective masks and ventilators that were originally planned for sale to less wealthy and authoritative states. And now the history is repeating itself: it is already known that some are trying to purchase an excess of doses of COVID-19 vaccines. If the world seems to have managed to cope with the shortage of masks, then everything is much more complicated with vaccines. Their stock would be not enough for all people. And t would happen not in the impoverished third world, but in Europe as such. But it doesn't seem to bother anyone.
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said that the authorities of many, if not most, countries act in conformity to the principle "let the loser cry." What kind of globalization and equal opportunities for all can we talk about in the circumstances?
Inevitably, we have to admit that from a socio-economic point of view, we were no more prepared for the COVID-19 pandemic than our grandfathers were for the Spanish flu pandemic a hundred years ago. And the latter, perhaps, brought fewer problems, because the world was not so globalized, and people in one hemisphere were not so dependent on people in the other at the beginning of the twentieth century. Sadly, a century has passed without developing of our civilization. Leaders of countries, leaders of peoples and business elites have wasted this time on conflicts and sorting out relations.

However, let's leave those in power alone and look back at ourselves. Have we changed facing a merciless disease that knows no boundaries? Have you become more attentive, tolerant and kinder to each other? Recall the crime chronicle of the past year: mass executions in Germany, the USA and Canada. Attacks in Nice and Vienna. Massive carnage caused by interracial strife and political divisions in the United States, a new outbreak of civil war in Ethiopia. Well, since any government in one way or another reflects the aspirations of the people of its country is it worth being surprised at the next clash on the border of India and China and the protracted conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh?
Since the beginning of the pandemic, I have repeatedly suggested that it should be treated as a warning that humanity has taken the wrong path of development and the time to think about whether we are doing everything right has come. If only I alone thought so, this idea might not deserve much attention. But the spiritual leaders of the most ancient human teachings also speak about this: the Dalai Lama, Patriarch Kirill and Pope Francis. So maybe you should listen?
We know very well that the Earth could easily get rid of humanity: our species managed to make it from a stone axe to the Voyagers flying across the solar system in a rather short period of climatic stability. If it gets a little hotter, or a little colder, or if the level of carbon dioxide or oxygen rises, our existence will be threatened.
However, Mother Nature will only breathe a sigh of relief without us.
Scientists have noticed that during the pandemics that caused economic stagnation, the air became noticeably cleaner, the number of wild animals increased so much so that they began to return to their old habitats and even venture to the cities. Incidentally, the leaders of nearly two hundred countries, who signed the 2010 Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011–2020, have not been able to achieve anything in a decade. However, it took only six months for a virus to do this.
We survived the first wave of the pandemic and, it seems, entered the second more prepared: we stocked up on vaccines, masks and ventilators, learned to recognize and treat this disease in time. But have we ourselves changed, at least are we ready to change?
According to some experts, a third wave of the pandemic awaits us in the future, and if we consider the same Spanish flu, it may turn out to be scarier than the first two. Not to mention the danger of new, previously unknown and more challenging diseases than the current COVID-19.
This means that the problems caused by the pandemic will only grow. Getting rid of them will not be easy, and it will not happen soon. Based on this assumption, analysts warn that the authorities of some countries will seek to settle their troubles at the expense of other nations, which may lead to the risk of another Cold War. And, it is only a matter of time when and where it will enter the hot stage.
Maybe the Universe is ready to complete the experiment with humanity, recognizing our civilization as unsuccessful? Maybe we shouldn't regret it, and it's too late?
I hope it's not too late. Yes, it could well be that the pandemic did not make us change our attitude to each other and the world around us in an instant, but such changes do not happen instantly. At the same time, people have shown the ability to unite and empathize in many cities and countries. First, this concerns the movement of volunteers who took care of the most vulnerable neighbours and fellow citizens. These are the same "balcony concerts" and people who provide other ways of mutual support.
I really want this experience to be developed and not left behind in the outgoing year. We will definitely not grieve about two thousand and twenty year, but we are obliged to understand its lessons and draw conclusions for the future, including the near future.