Ideological Struggle with COVID-19 and Disproportional Public Policy Measures in Russia


Konstantin S. Sharov, 

PhD, ThM, Senior Scientist, Koltzov Institute of Developmental Biology, Russia

Address: 26 Vavilov st, Moscow, 119334 Russia


Article ID: 020610119

Published online: 18 November 2020




Quoting (Chicago style): Sharov, Konstantin. 2020. “Ideological Struggle with COVID-19 and Disproportional Public Policy Measures in Russia.” Beacon J Stud Ideol Ment Dimens 3, 020610119.

Language: Russian

Download the full text:

Vol. 1 No. 1 Pdf


Almost since the very emergence of the novel coronaviral pathogen SARS-CoV-2, the struggle with it became highly ideologised. Almost in every country, public policy measures was initially targeted more at frightening and controlling population than at rational managerial steps of containing the virus. Medical care workers behaviour was seriously impacted by such measures. Due to constant fear, stress and even panic caused by the media propaganda, workability and operational integrity of clinicians and medical personnel decreased. With the use of the example of Russia, I elaborate steps to avoid managerial collapse in healthcare system brought about by the ideological influence of media and state structures, in the future.

Key words: COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2, public policy, management ideological mechanisms, healthcare crisis

Extended summary in English



SARS-CoV-2 pandemic caused dramatic impact on social life and medical care. Anti-COVID-19 highly ideological public policy measures, such as lockdowns, switching off economies, closing borders, casting off dissentaneous medical experts from media sphere, chastising public disobedience to newly introduced undemocratic rules etc., were told to be introduced to curb the virus spread. Their role in curbing SARS-CoV-2 pandemic is still dubious. Instead, they provoked public panic and partially caused healthcare crises in many countries, including Russia.


Healthcare systems of most countries of the world were unprepared to such enormous stress. However, considerable threat to medical care was represented not by the SARS-CoV-2 pathogen itself, but by the consequences of the situation when the public policy struggle with the virus was transferred to the ideological field. Public policy initially proposed by the majority of countries was defective and abusive towards the majority of population, including medical workers. Governments and media created the universal ideological narration of the virus deadliness without statistical evidence. This deadliness must have been overcome only by the collective obedience to governmental power structures with forswearing many constitutional civil rights. Those people who accepted the ideology uncritically and declared themselves “needy” and incapable of working due to the pandemic, were favoured by public policy steps, e.g. they might have been given government subsidies, alms and assistance. Those who questioned consistency of governmental steps or even opposed them, were punished and sometimes deprived their constitutional and democratic rights farther, including medical care specialists. Not professional qualities of clinicians and medical personnel were key factors of this “carrot and whip” policy, but unquestioning adherence to the dominant ideology, even in the states whose governments call themselves democratic. This was also true for Russia, especially Moscow.


The ideological factors, mainly during the first wave of COVID-19, were associated with non-evidence-based measures and managerial decisions in medicine. In the paper, I study the response of medical care workers from Russia and compare it with several European countries. The aim of the study is to prove that only strict compliance with the fundamentals of evidence-based medicine during COVID-19 crisis and any similar healthcare crises may keep medical care systems buoyant and functioning.


An attempt to elaborate necessary strategies, protocols and principles that may be applied in the future to avoid dramatic consequences of any possible epidemiological hazards for medical care system in Russia and in other countries, led the author to proposing the following points: 1. Launching effectual isolation methods of counteracting pandemic instead of keeping loyalty to ineffective lockdown measures. It will allow rapid detecting virus spreaders. 2. Serious epidemiological control in public places such as airports, bus stations, railway stations, border control buildings. 3. Readiness of infectious disease part of healthcare systems. 4. Careful discriminating between people who require hospital treatment and asymptomatic or mild symptomatic persons who can comprise out-patient community. 5. Large storage of protective costumes for medical workers. 6. Ensuring comprehensive governmental press releases on the situation with the virus. 7. Preparing relevant reports for medical workers with all necessary information about a pathogen. Avoiding frightening medical personnel with imaginary terrible properties of the pathogen. 8. Detecting pandemic-related ideological media propaganda and curbing it. Careful sieving the information about the virus in media sources by governmental representatives, including TV news and other places of media narration, with rejection of misleading and obviously false “facts” like heaps of coffins in Northern Italy or mass burials in New York. 9. Shift from “symptomatic” approach of governments and leading medical experts in public policy to systemic evaluation of COVID-19 complex threat to humanity and separate countries.


Following these simple rules may help to soothe social panic and call medical workers to professionalism, effectually changing harmful ideological public policy to social-oriented and democratic one. No ideology may stop a viral threat, only consistent, deliberate and planned measures that Russia obviously lacked during the chief part of the pandemic thus far.


© 2020 Konstantin S. Sharov.
Licensee The Beacon: Journal for Studying Ideologies and Mental Dimensions.

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( that permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

CC Licence

Return to the issue

go to