COVID-19 Pandemic – Milestone in Rediscovering the Rural Life
Yuri N. GOLUBCHIKOV*1
* Corresponding author
1 Lomonosov Moscow State University, Faculty of Geography, Department of Recreational Geography and Tourism, Moscow, RUSSIA
Abstract. This study investigates the positive aspects of the impact COVID-19 pandemic has had on rural development, providing several examples from the post-Soviet space. It is predicted that the intensification of dacha recreation phenomenon, which has been significantly influenced by the pandemic, will spatially extend beyond the periurban areas of the largest cities and will create the preconditions for the restoration of abandoned villages, development of rural tourism and preservation of “archaic” techniques and traditional lifestyle. In an interdisciplinary context, we learn about the increased tendency of city dwellers to own second homes (dacha) in the countryside. Attention is drawn to the relationship between the COVID-19 pandemic and a decrease in solar activity, along with the decrease in the disinfection capacity of solar UV radiation. The curative proprieties of landscapes are investigated, methods of their valorisation are proposed, and landscape therapy is proposed to be considered during pandemics, some of the most effective activities being open-air walks, with inhalation of negative oxygen ions, phytoncides, terpenes. The growth of uncertainties due to unlimited and uncontrolled human society development is postulated. It is proved that development must consider the unpredicted effects of a catastrophe and use this knowledge to prevent other more devastating events and effects. In this context, the preservation of the primary, although outdated, living techniques is proposed, since they can act as important survival factors in critical mode. It is concluded that COVID-19 pandemic should be perceived as a milestone in the reorientation of geography and ecology towards understanding and advocating for nature preservation to be able to sustain human society in a continuous transformation.
K e y w o r d s: COVID-19 pandemic, deurbanisation, rural tourism, dacha recreation, landscape therapy, traditional lifestyle, solar UV radiation properties