Elections during wartime can make people more disappointed, irritated - expert

Elections during wartime can make people more disappointed, irritated - expert

Holding elections during wartime may strengthen people's irritation with politicians and disappointment of citizens who do not see any changes.

Oleh Pokalchuk, a social and military psychologist, said this in an interview with Ukrinform.

"If we talk about the expediency of this issue [holding elections during wartime] – complying with the law or, on the contrary, its restrictions during hostilities, then I always recommend starting from the possible negative consequences, because everyone will talk about the positive ones anyway. First, the disappointment of people who think that the elections in reality change something radically may grow. [...] I think they can strengthen people's irritation with politicians," Pokalchuk said.

Speaking about the danger of deepening the division in society due to political campaigning during the pre-election process, he noted that the lines of division already exist and are characterized not by depth, but by the drama of subjective experiences.

"There is a fundamental difference here. We have a rather contradictory picture. All sociological polls show a great unity and cohesion of the Ukrainian people around patriotic values, a decrease in the influence of liberalism and an increase in nationalism - this is all true. And at the same time, basic settings, patterns of behavior remain the same as they were before the war. Such is the paradox," Pokalchuk said.

In his opinion, in the context of possible elections, this means that people can take part in them and there can be a certain consensus on accepting the results. At the same time, Pokalchuk noted that there is also the subjective disappointment of the participants in this process, who constantly give something for the benefit of the state - money, health, part of their life - that is, they fulfill their civic duty, but receive nothing in return.

"This, of course, dramatizes personal experiences. These personal emotional crises can then transform into various scenarios of deterioration of the general psychological climate with corresponding consequences," he warned.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in late August that changes to legislation and additional funding were needed for the elections to be held in 2024, if the war continues.

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