The spread of the virus in Russia was officially confirmed on January 31, 2020. Early prevention measures included restricting the border with China and extensive testing of the population. The further spread of the virus has led to additional actions such as canceling social events, closing public spaces, and announcing a period of no work, which, after two extensions, lasted until 11 May 2020. By April 17, 2020, cases of the disease have been confirmed in all subjects of the Russian federation. As of March 28, 2021, according to the National Coronavirus Crisis Center, Russia has over 4.5 million confirmed cases.
The issue of the mental health of the world population during the coronavirus pandemic was raised by the Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO) Tedros Adan Ghebreyesus at a briefing in Geneva. COVID-19 not only affected the mental health of millions of people around the world but also disrupted mental health services. Researching the psychological health of large social groups is becoming more relevant than ever.
The study of the structure of anxiety in the Russian-speaking sample shows that 99.8% of respondents had variable concerns associated with COVID-19. Psychological stress level increased to moderate level. 35% of respondents developed anxiety about the “risk of isolation” and “possible lack of drugs for everyday use.” The most susceptible groups were respondents with affective disorder, young people (under 20), unemployed, single, respondents without higher education, and women. To prevent a further increase of anxiety distress, targeted and oriented measures should be introduced to identify and support vulnerable social groups.
Measuring the level of public fear of COVID-19 began in March 2020 and 30% of Russians stated they were definitely or rather afraid. Public fear of the virus continued to grow and peaked at 64% in October 2020. Since that moment, the percentage of fear of the Russian population of the coronavirus has been falling and in February 2021 it was 43%.