Everybody who reads them some history books knows that plagues incite blind panic, especially in ignorant populations. And when ignorant people lash out against plagues and the victims of plagues, often the [ironical] result is to spread the infection even further! The textbook example being when ignorant European peasants killed cats in the Middle Ages. They killed the cats who controlled the rats, who carried the fleas that carried the plague! Less cats = more rats = more fleas and more plague!
This is the context in which the world was treated to the spectacle of ignorant Ukrainian villagers stoning a bus carrying fellow citizens (=Ukrainians) who had just been evacuated from a Chinese province (supposedly infected with coronavirus) where these unfortunate Slavs were visiting, either professionally or as tourists; and brought back home to the Ukraine to be put under observation. Note that these Ukrainian evacuees were not necessarily diagnosed with the virus and probably are not even infected; it was just a precautionary measure to quarantine them for a certain amount of time, give them medical check-ups, and then either release them (if clean) or send them on for further medical treatment. Russia had done exactly the same thing with their citizens maybe a week or two earlier, in a quick, efficient, and unheralded operation. As did several other countries. Note that I am not taking sides here on whether this whole coronavirus thing is simply a gigantic fake-news, or the result of CIA germ warfare against China, there are a lot of conspiracy theories out there… I’m just saying that various countries, including Russia, are treating it like it’s a real thing, a real plague, and are taking precautions to, e.g., evacuate their citizens and even quarantine them for a certain period of time.
With that stipulation, Russian RT, the tabloidy and sometimes loud-mouthed voice of the Russian government, had a field day with the “Ignorant Ukrainian Peasants” angle, as well they should. Commenters to the piece pointed out how stoning the bus and breaking the windows, etc., would only serve to spread the virus, if indeed any of those unfortunate tourists was actually infected. The optics were not good. In fact, the optics were bloody awful. So awful, that Ukrainian President Zelensky felt like he had to apologize to the world for this ungodly spectacle:
“You know, we always say that Ukraine is Europe,” the president told the nation, referring to a slogan popular among pro-Western elements, which became particularly widespread following the 2014 Maidan coup. “To tell the truth, yesterday, we sometimes seemed to be the Europe of the Middle Ages,” he added, chastising those who staged violent protests in central Ukraine.
But wait! Westie media which supports the Ukrainian government, felt that they had to eke some shred of dignity back from this debacle. Hence, Buzzfeed tried to blame Russia by “implying” that bad actors, presumably from Russia, incited the whole thing with a fake email. By implying that some of the people on that bus were actually sick with the virus. [Which, just speaking for myself, if I were a Ukrainian villager, I would have kept as far away from that bus, and that hospital, as I could. And not be trying to get up close and personal with sick people. I mean, really? Who is with me on that one?] Nice try, Buzzfeed, but no cigar, the initial optics were so horrendous that there was really no way to mitigate this for your client…
In any case, being the skeptic that I am, I kept waiting for more stories to break that might have something more intelligent to offer. Or maybe a better explanation of what happened. It can’t be that simple, right? Just a bunch of ignoramuses stoning a bus just because they (=the ignorami) are stupid and vicious? Whether or not they received a trolling email from the Russian government?
So, eventually I came upon this more analytical piece by reporter Nikolai Storozhenko. And while it doesn’t contain any juicy conspiracy theories, Storozhenko does make a reasonable case for the Ukrainian coronavirus panic being a home-grown affair. Containing some of what all the other pundits have suggested: Collapse of the medical infrastructure, breakdown of society in general, lack of trust in the government and institutions, etc. etc., plus an extra ingredient: The role of Western Ukraine and the virus of Separatism. And by Separatism, we’re talking Lvov, not Donbass!
In a case of Irony too Ironic to hardly seem real, this is a story of the Servant becoming the Master, and then the new Master feeling a resentment so intense, that he needs to take out his rage on innocent and possibly sick people who are his neighbors and fellow citizens…
[to be continued]