Coronavirus and National Character

Behavior of people in crisis reveals some features of national character.

It was recently reported that a Russian lady who returned from China and was put under quarantine for 14 days escaped after 10 days. It was not a simple task to leave the room as it was electronically locked. Thus she dismantled the wall, find a way to connect properly the wires to have the lock opened.

I totally disapprove the breach of quarantine, but it gave me the idea of different models of behavior of different nations in similar or close situations.

Chinese people show perfect order most of the time, they fulfill the set rules, notwithstanding how difficult they are.

British people caught on board of cruise ship were reported to apply to their officials to find a legal way to settle the situation when they find measures taken inadequate.

Russians make their own judgement of the situation. And if they find the situation unfair or not reasonable, they are just acting in a way which they find appropriate to change the situation, they do not spend time to find a legal solution to the matter. And it doesn’t matter for them is it legal or not, the main point is it fair or not. If they find it fair, they are ready to meet all the consequences of their actions. And the more severe the punishment is, the more heroes they feel.

The lady who escaped the quarantine is not hiding, despite the fact that she can meet charges and penalties. She is sure that it was unfair to keep her under quarantine that long. The authorities started to calculate the time from the date when she was placed into the hospital. While in her opinion the time should be calculated from the date when she arrived to Russia. Thus 14 day after her arrival to Russia she just got up and left the room in a James-Bond style.

If you have this in mind, you can explain and understand behavior and attitude of Russians to many events in the recent history. Russians are not so law respectful as people in the West. On one hand, they see that the laws are often far from being fair, on the other hand, for many centuries and up to the current moment the possibilities of a fair legal support have been very limited. Thus Russian have elaborated their own code of behavior which is based on their understanding of what is fair and what is not, and they immediately behave in accordance with it. If they find something fair, no chance to press Russians to change their mode of behavior and way of thinking by force.

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