All last year’s predictions can be divided into two large groups: optimistic and pessimistic. Unfortunately, the first for the most part did not come true. The virus mutated and became more dangerous, putting the world in front of a difficult choice between a complete lockdown and an epidemic catastrophe. The vaccine was not a panacea. Even in rich countries like the United States, it is sorely lacking. Not to mention Africa and Asia.
The financial crisis
The financial crisis has worsened even in previously relatively prosperous countries. The rich got richer, and the poor were on the verge of survival. For example, in Canada, far from political and financial turmoil, almost half of the population is on the verge of bankruptcy. This step is only $ 200 — no more than this amount remains with 46% of Canadians every month after all expenses. In third-world countries, the situation turned out to be even worse.
Protests and riots
It is not surprising that all of the above has provoked unrest and conflicts in many countries. 2021 can be safely called the year of political instability and internal confrontations. Riots broke out all over the world:
The USA. The racial riots caused by the murder of George Floyd have taken on a more social character. It’s all the fault of the problems of the health care system, worsening inequality (including on national grounds), layoffs due to the shutdown, and closure of enterprises. After all, it is African Americans, who are employed mainly in low-paid professions, who have suffered most from the pandemic and the crisis. A show trial of a policeman and a sentence of 22.5 years in prison certainly did not solve the situation.
Colombia. The protests here began at the end of April. The reason is higher taxes and healthcare reform. Like other third-world countries, Colombia failed to cope with the pandemic and found itself in a deep economic and domestic political crisis. President Ivan Duque decided to leave it at the expense of the poorest segments of the population.
Brazil. Denial of the danger of coronavirus and far-right rhetoric has served President Jair Bolsonar not the best service. Throughout the first half of the year, mass protests periodically broke out in the country, caused by the epidemiological situation and social inequality. The epic with the transfer of America’s Cup from protest-ridden Colombia added fuel to the fire.
Cuba. Crushed by the U.S. sanctions policy, Cuba faced an acute shortage of food and medicines in July 2021. In fairness, it should be noted that the riots on Liberty Island were not so much the result of internal causes as external provocations. The local government managed to get the situation under control pretty quickly.
Myanmar. The February military coup, although it did not become a direct consequence of the coronacrisis, clearly reflected the global trend towards an increase in tension and protest moods.
South Africa. Discontent in a country where more than half live below the poverty line and a third do not have a permanent job and income, is understandable. The formal reason for the riots was the arrest and sentence to 15 months in prison of the former president of South Africa, still popular among the poorest segments of the population.
By the end of last year, the borders seemed to have been slightly opened. But not everything, and not for everyone. Most of the traditional tourist destinations are still closed for Russians. So far, only Italy has resumed issuing visas, but only to those whose visas expired during last year’s quarantine.
Europe as a whole remains open to holders of coveted EU passports. However, quarantine measures have not been canceled. COVID-passports, PCR tests, vaccination certificates are required even when crossing borders within the Schengen area.
However, other parts of the world are also in no hurry to open borders. Putin’s talks with Biden and the decision to reopen the embassy did not lead to progress with the issuance of American visas. And there is no sign of warming relations — by the end of the month, the United States will send 24 more Russian diplomats and reduce its consular staff in Moscow by 75%. Russia is also expelling 10 American diplomatic officials in response.
The World of 2021: what has already happened
Even if we do not take the pandemic, political and economic turmoil, the year was and promises to be rich in memorable events. Especially in Italy. Here, for example…
1. Eurovision 2021
The 65th-anniversary pop song contest was held in Rotterdam. The Netherlands hosted the festival for the fifth time in its history. A landmark event for the world was supposed to happen last year, but due to the pandemic, Eurovision was postponed for a year. And although some participating countries insisted that the festival still take place in the fall of 2020, the European Broadcasting Union and the Dutch Government left the requests unanswered.
The final on May 22 gave the representatives of Italy – the band “Måneskin” – a victory, and the world – a great hard rock hit and several scandals. Two of them are connected with the frontman of the Italian band David Damiano.
At first, he jumped so actively on stage for joy that he tore his pants. Fortunately, the rocker did not forget about underwear. And during the announcement of the results, the vocalist made a strange gesture, most of all resembling the use of cocaine. Damiano himself claimed that he simply brushed the fragments of a glass that had been broken earlier off the table. Everyone pretended to believe it.
But the representative of the United Kingdom, James Newman, became the anti-record holder of Eurovision, for the first time in the history of the festival, receiving zero points based on the results of the voting of the audience and the expert jury.
2. European Football Championship
Euro 2020 was planned and became a unique sporting event. This is the first European championship, which was held at 11 stadiums in 10 countries. Even 11, if, like UEFA, England and Scotland are considered different states. In addition, Euro 2020 was the first continental championship postponed due to extraordinary circumstances. Strict anti-coronavirus restrictions were set at most matches and the stadium occupancy rate was 50%. Specific decisions on quarantine measures were assigned to local football federations.
The European Football Championship was Italy’s second triumph in a year. Squadra Azzurra — the so-called Italian team for the color of the uniform — beat the founders of football – the England national team in the decisive match at Wembley. In the final, the audience saw everything: a goal in the second minute, the Italians fighting back, extra time, a penalty shootout and annoyed Englishmen tearing silver medals from their necks.
Only the Queen was not at the match — the audience was waiting for her to award the “Three Lions.” However, it’s for the best, because the long-awaited victory did not happen.
3. Tokyo 2020 Olympics
Another sports event was postponed for a year, which retained the prefix “2020.” Unlike the Euro, the Olympics were held in compliance with strict quarantine measures. The route of the Olympic Torch relay was bypassed by major cities and without spectators. As well as a good half of the competitions. They decided not to allow foreign fans to the Olympics at all. Athletes were also severely restricted, assigning special QR codes to everyone and obliging them to keep a “health diary.” Under the ban were sex, autographs, and gatherings in the company.
But there were still doping scandals in Tokyo. A Brazilian volleyball player was disqualified for using illegal drugs. However, this was not enough to withdraw the entire team from the competition.
4. The new U.S. President
On January 20, Joe Biden took the oath of office and took office as the 46th President of the United States. The new head of state has become a consistent opponent of Trump’s policy, having already canceled a number of his decrees in the first few days: withdrawal from the WHO and the Paris Climate Agreement, construction of a wall on the border with Mexico, a ban on entry to the United States for citizens of a number of African and Muslim countries.
5. The UK’s exit from the EU
The British government initiated the procedure for leaving the EU back in March 2017, but Brexit itself has been repeatedly postponed. It was only in January last year that the relevant bill was finally passed by Parliament and signed by Elizabeth II and Boris Johnson. However, its provisions were in effect on a temporary basis until the end of February this year.
So we can only talk about the complete withdrawal of the UK from the European Union now and even then with some reservations. After all, representatives of the European Parliament managed to defend a number of their interests during bilateral meetings.
In particular, Northern Ireland remains in the economic and customs area of the EU for the time being. Against this background, the Prime Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon has already called on compatriots to fight for independence. Brexit has also complicated the situation with British visas for foreigners. There is a shortage of specialists in the country itself. However, perhaps this is what will push the UK Government to relax the visa regime.
6. The death of Prince Philip
In April, Prince Philip, the extravagant and by modern standards completely politically incorrect spouse of the Queen of Great Britain, died. He did not live to see his centenary for two months and became the longest-lived Prince consort in the history of the British monarchy. Due to the COVID epidemic, only 30 people attended the funeral — Philip’s close relatives. An 8-day national mourning period was declared in Britain. The royal family observed mourning for 30 days.
7. Natural disasters
In 2021, the peak of the 11-year cycle of solar activity occurred. Which partially coincided with the Milankovitch cycles. This, as well as climate change as a result of human economic activity, became the causes of natural anomalies:
Deadly heat in the USA, Canada.
Forest fires in Siberia and Turkey.
Floods in Europe.
Typhoons and heavy rains in the Far East.
Frosts in Africa and South America.
All these events added fuel to the fire of the coronacrisis and led to serious complications in the logistics and, already barely alive, tourism industries.
8. Angela Merkel has left the post of German Chancellor
Parliamentary elections were held in Germany on September 26. The Social Democratic Party won the most votes (25.7%). The next stage will be the creation of a coalition of ruling parties. But that’s not the main thing.
After 16 years as Chancellor of Germany, Angela Merkel resigned with dignity and a smile. However, at the moment this is just a beautiful formality.
Several parties won the parliamentary elections at once. And according to German law, they must have formed a ruling coalition. But until the government is determined, Angela Merkel will continue to lead the country.
What else to expect in 2021?
The first half of this year has become eventful. Including at the expense of events postponed from last year. There are not so many interesting things for the remaining months. Although something can be mentioned:
- The appointment of a new German chancellor, who can influence the political situation in general throughout Europe.
- Junior Eurovision Song Contest. The 19th festival will take place on December 19 in Paris.
Forecast for 2022
They joke on the Internet that after the 20th and 21st, the calendars for the next 2022 can not be printed at all. Although many political scientists, virologists, and economists are more optimistic.
It is likely that the contradictions in the world will continue to grow, but they will not result in a heated confrontation if the virus recedes and the economic situation stabilizes. Unfortunately, the vaccination rates are not high enough yet. But they are enough for collective immunity to be achieved in Europe, China, North America, and Russia over the next year.
Inflation and rising prices may decline as soon as logistics chains recover. And we can also count on this by the end of next year. Whether prices will return to the pre-pandemic after that is rather a rhetorical question.