From the storming of the Capitol to the Omicron strain
The outgoing year was eventful on the world stage. The coronavirus pandemic continued to rage, old conflicts did not subside and new conflicts arose, other famous people left for the world. We have compiled twelve main phenomena that I remember in 2021.
Less than a week after the onset of 2021, on January 6, an unprecedented thing happened in the American capital: supporters of the outgoing President Donald Trump staged an “assault” on the United States Capitol, demanding a review of the results of the 2020 presidential election and forcing members of Congress to evacuate. During the violent riots, five people were killed. The “favorite” of the world media was one of the participants in the events – a brightly painted half-naked “Horned Shaman”, a supporter of the QAnon conspiracy theory named Jacob Anthony Chensley.
Nothing came of the assault on the Republican president's supporters. Moreover, already on January 13, the US House of Representatives voted to impeach the still formally head of state Trump for inciting an “armed rebellion against America.” This is how Trump became the first president in American history to be impeached twice. However, this procedure had no special consequences for him. But the participants in the riots near the Capitol continue to pass sentences.
Well, on January 20, Joe Biden took office as the 46th President of the United States …
The raging COVID-19 pandemic is forcing scientists, politicians and ordinary people to think about where this coronavirus came from. In early February, the long-awaited report on the results of the investigation was published, which was carried out by a team of WHO experts together with Chinese scientists. The verdict of the participants in the investigation sounds like this: a virus leak from a laboratory in Wuhan (China) is “extremely unlikely”, bats are named as the most likely source of infection.
But many were left unsatisfied with these findings. In May, US President Joe Biden ordered the American intelligence community to step up efforts to investigate the origins of COVID-19 and deal with the origins of the coronavirus within three months. But after the allotted time, the special services actually threw up their hands, without giving an unambiguous answer about the origin of the pandemic, which claimed millions of lives. Apparently, the true history of the coronavirus will remain a secret behind seven seals.
The British monarchy, so unshakable, was shocked when Prince Harry and his wife Meghan Markle had moved to America on the Oprah Winfrey Show in March. The first violin in the family interview, of course, was played by Megan, who accused the royal family of being callous and, even worse, racist. The latter was understood as a question asked by one of the members of the royal family, about the skin color of the unborn child Harry and Megan (the prince's wife, as you know, has African-American roots on her mother). The scandalous revelations of special popularity for the “rebelled” against Buckingham Palace did not bring the couple, but they made the gap between Harry and his older brother Prince William almost insurmountable – not to mention other representatives of the ruling family.
Relations between Russia and the United States in recent years have already been “below the floor,” with the arrival of Democrat Joe Biden in the White House, the situation has not improved in any way. In this regard, the decision to meet in person between the Russian and American leaders became a ray of hope for at least some improvement in bilateral relations.
Neutral Switzerland was chosen as the venue for the Biden-Putin summit. And on June 16, the two presidents held a three and a half hour meeting in Geneva. Even the most inveterate optimists did not expect breakthrough decisions from the negotiations. But the very fact of a conversation between the heads of the two powers can be attributed to the pluses. However, recent events – despite the recent video link conversation between Putin and Biden – indicate that the decline in relations between Moscow and Washington continues.
Before reaching a century, Prince Philip, husband of Queen Elizabeth II, died in Great Britain on April 9. Unrestrained in language, politically incorrect Duke of Edinburgh was the love of Her Majesty's life. Only the pandemic prevented the mass gathering of mourning Britons to the funeral ceremonies. But the attention of the public, who watched the farewell to the royal spouse live, was riveted on the disgraced Prince Harry and his brother William, who had flown in from America to the funeral of his grandfather. They caught their every gesture, but the hopes of good hearts that the family grief would make the quarreling members of the monarch's family reconcile were not justified.
The small and poor Caribbean state of Haiti has become the center of world news in the summer. During the July 7 attack by a group of mercenaries on the residence of the head of state, the president of the republic, Jovenel Moise, was killed. During the investigation, dozens of suspects in the assassination attempt were identified – including citizens of the United States and Colombia. Some of them were detained, some were killed. With the organizers of the high-profile murder – everything is more complicated. The prosecutor accused the Prime Minister of the country, Ariel Henri, of involvement in the assassination attempt on the president. He, of course, rejected these accusations.
Jovenelle Moise is not the only president to be assassinated in 2021. His colleague from the African Republic of Chad, Idris Debi, was killed in April, when he commanded the troops that fought on the front against the rebels.
In early May, it became known that one of the richest inhabitants of the planet Bill Gates and his wife Melinda are getting divorced after 27 years of marriage. They stated that they could no longer “develop together as a couple.” Melinda Gates has filed a divorce petition in King County, Washington with a request to divorce under the couple's separation agreement. But, being co-founders of one of the largest private charitable foundations in the world, Bill and Melinda promised to continue their joint charitable work.
Despite the lack of much media hype, the Gates divorce settlement has been dubbed the second most expensive marital separation in the United States after Jeff Bezos parted ways with ex-wife Mackenzie, paying her $ 38.3 billion.
Largely due to the coronavirus pandemic, the world is faced with the threat of shortages and higher prices for goods – serious disruptions began in the global supply chain. The most striking picture of this situation on March 23 was the accident of the container ship Ever Given on its way from Malaysia to the Netherlands in the Suez Canal. Run aground in a transport corridor linking the Mediterranean to the Indian Ocean, the ship triggered a multi-day collapse of freight traffic around the world, costing world trade an estimated $ 400 million every hour. Despite gloomy forecasts that this was serious and for a long time, by the end of March, the container ship was still able to move. And the sea traffic on the Suez resumed. But the consequences of this “traffic jam” have certainly only exacerbated the supply chain crisis.
The fact that in Afghanistan, where militants of the Islamist Taliban movement (a terrorist organization banned in Russia) were seizing one region after another, it was not all right, it was known for a long time. The withdrawal of American troops from the belligerent country was discussed both under Obama and under Trump. But the last word remained with Biden, who promised to withdraw the US contingent from Afghan soil by September – roughly, it turns out, by the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. Even so, the experts gave the pro-American official authorities in Kabul months, or even years, to resist the Taliban's onslaught without the support of Washington's bayonets. It turned out in a way that no one, perhaps, expected. The Taliban did not wait for the Americans to leave, but took over the Afghan capital, forcing President Ashraf Ghani to flee in haste. The second half of August was filled with attempts by Western countries to take out their citizens and Afghans fleeing from the new masters of the country from the Kabul airport. Crammed with transport planes, desperate people falling during their takeoff – this reminded many of the evacuation from Saigon. The apotheosis of the departure of Americans from the longest war in the history of the United States was the terrorist attack at the gates of the Kabul airport, organized by the Afghan branch of the Islamic State (a terrorist organization banned in the Russian Federation), which claimed two hundred lives.
The Summer Olympics began in Tokyo on July 23, postponed from 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. All because of the same coronavirus, the Olympics for the first time had to be held without spectators in stadiums. As a result of doping scandals, Russian athletes were forced to compete under the flag of the Russian Olympic Committee. That, however, did not prevent from getting into the top five in gold in the overall medal standings.
According to the press, the Tokyo Olympics cost almost twice as much as originally planned. According to preliminary data from the organizing committee released in December, the Games cost $ 12.7 billion. The final spending report is expected to be published in the summer of 2022.
The Olympics have long become an event of political significance – and this was confirmed by the scandals surrounding the upcoming Winter Games in Beijing in 2022. In early December, the United States announced a diplomatic boycott of the Games in response to human rights abuses in China. Canada, Great Britain and Australia joined the United States in this demarche.
At the end of September, the next parliamentary elections were held in Germany, in which the Social Democratic Party won. And the ruling conservative bloc CDU/CSU took second place. The voting results finally drew a line under the history of the “era of Angela Merkel” that lasted for a decade and a half. However, it was known for a long time that Frau Merkel would leave politics in any case. As well as the fact that she will receive a pension of about 15 thousand euros. In December, Mutti (“Mommy” – as she was often called) formally resigned. And the new Federal Chancellor of Germany was the Social Democrat Olaf Scholz, who headed the coalition government, which included representatives of the SPD, Greens and Free Democrats.
In 2021, the World Health Organization, based on politically correct considerations, renamed the strains coronavirus, naming them in Greek letters. The “Kent” version of COVID became known as “Alpha”, the Indian version was called “Delta”, and the South African version was called “Beta”. In November, a new “figurant” appeared in the list of mutations, which was given the name “Omicron”. This variant of the coronavirus was found in South Africa. Within a few weeks, he managed to scatter around the world, becoming dominant in many countries (including the United States) and pushing back the “Delta” that ruled the ball before. Scientists admit they don't know much about Omicron yet, but consider it extremely infectious. While some experts sound the alarm about it, others believe that excessive alarmism is unnecessary. In any case, there is reason to fear that this is not the last mutated strain. After all, the Greek alphabet still has enough letters …