On March 26th, Russian outlet MK.ru reported on the attitudes and what Italians, and specifically Northern Italians were saying regarding the arrival of Russian military specialists and virologists to Italy.
A special attention was paid to the comments under a video on YouTube, showing the Russian convoy arrive in Bergamo, the most affected city in the country.
“Russia, we are in your hands”, “Russians have come, now you will see the difference with the European Union”, “Putin, be our ruler, you are the only one”, are some of the many such comments.
Russians and Belarusians who live in Northern Italy were interviewed, to shed some light on what the attitude really was, and why they think the situation got so much out of control, and what the Russian military medics will face.
Italians have Russian flags hanging on the windows, a trumpeter playing the Russian anthem on their balconies. Italians who are in quarantine, which is compared with martial law, are immensely grateful to the Russians who came to their aid.
“Of the 70 thousand infected with coronavirus – more than 30 thousand are in Lombardy. About 7 thousand people died. We are like in a war. Our old people are dying. We really need qualified doctors, mechanical ventilation apparatuses. We say thanks to the Russians, the Chinese, and the Cubans, who extended a helping hand to us. We believe that together we will turn the tide,” said Italian architect Adele Sironi.
Most people regard the deployment as positive, with an example being given of one young man, who was questioning what the Russians would want in return, and it appeared that he was reminded that after saving the world from fascism in World War II, Russia didn’t specifically demand anything from anybody.
Other people, Russians and Belarusians gave testimony, saying that many of their elder neighbors were dying, and the situation felt as if it was during wartime. They decided to not leave, “because we are Russians and we cannot do it any other way, together in grief and joy.”
Marina, who has lived in Lisson, Italy for 5 years, said that at first the residents in the north of Italy organized flash mobs, went out to the balconies at nine in the evening, the Italian anthem sounded, everyone stood, supporting doctors in this difficult situation, shining flashlights.
“Now this is no longer. The people are tired, everyone is sitting at home.
Italians have good, strong medicine, but it is, let’s say, peaceful.
Until recently, there was no such thing as an “infectious diseases hospital” here.
Italians have many laws that do not work. Many in Italy now want a ruler like Putin, they believe that in this situation a firm hand and tough measures are needed. My husband’s sister, an Italian, called me yesterday and said: “We want a dictatorship, we are tired.””
She added that nobody took the restrictions seriously. And even distorted by Western propaganda, thinking that Russia is some sort of strict dictatorship, they saw the benefit of a society with people who are willing to follow stricter rules for the greater good.
“After all, what happened after the first week of quarantine, when the government demanded that all restaurants be closed? After exactly seven days, all the bars were again opened for aperitifs. Moms with children were sitting in the cafe. You know what the flash mob was then: we won’t panic! For Italians their entire life is Dolce Vita,” Marina said.
The help from Russia is all very welcome. The Italians were amazed at the speed of the Russians.
“I told my husband, look, in 12 hours the Russians assembled airplanes in Chkalovsky from various air bases in the country, I myself am from a military family, I know what an order is.
They collected the cargo, packed it and flew to Rome.
And here the authorities were mocked for about two days. They said, however, that they are taking tests. But for example, I still don’t understand such a long delay.”
The Italians were not ready at the airbase near Rome in such an amount to take our planes and cargo. They were not prepared to unload the cargo.
Information about the arrival of Russian military virologists is distributed mainly through Facebook. In the Italian media, there is very scarce information on the matter, according to Marina.
A photo is spread in social networks where three girls – a Chinese woman, a Cuban and a Russian woman – stand nearby in dresses of green, white and red colors, symbolizing the Italian flag. And the signature: “Only Italians could so beautifully thank China, Russia and Cuba for the help.”
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