A gift from heaven or an element of a hybrid war
So a European friend sent me a link to this article with some not-so-veiled allusions to the Angel side ...
(i) Gift from Heaven
(ii) Hybrid War
(iii) a thumbs-up from Putin
It is quite clear that Sputnik V has become a kind of soft power for Russia," said Michal Baranowski of the German political 'think tank' German Marshall Fund. “The political goal of Russia’s strategy is to divide the West,” adds Baranowski, who heads the Warsaw office.
Only a few days after receiving the first shipment of Sputnik V on March 1, Slovakia found itself in a political crisis. Prime Minister Igor Matovic welcomed the arrival of the Russian vaccine, saying that "covid-19 knows nothing about geopolitics", while Foreign Minister Ivan Korcok called the vaccine "a tool of hybrid warfare".
According to a study published in the professional journal The Lancet, Sputnik V has an efficiency of 91.6 percent and is already being applied in several countries around the world.
It has yet to be approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA), but some former communist countries, current members of the Union, intend to start using it without the EMA's green light.
After the EU failed to procure and rapidly distribute Pfizer / BioNTech, AstraZeneca and Moderna vaccines, members of the Union, such as Slovakia, turned to the East.
Experts fully agree that vaccination is the only way to overcome the coronavirus crisis that has hit Central and Eastern Europe particularly hard. Slovakia and the Czech Republic have had the highest death rate per capita in the world for weeks.
Last month, Czech President Milos Zeman asked Russian President Vladimir Putin to deliver Sputnik V to him. "This is how I will help my country," Zeman said.
When the Czech health minister refused to accept a vaccine that did not have EMA approval, Zeman demanded his resignation, but his request was not met.
"The possible use of Sputnik V in the Czech Republic has become an exclusively political weapon," said political analyst Jiri Pehe , calling the Russian vaccine "a tool of political struggle and propaganda." He states that Russia has a problem producing a sufficient amount of vaccine for its own needs, and also raises the question of the conditions under which the vaccine was produced. "If Putin really believed in this vaccine, he would be the first to receive the first dose with great fanfare, but he is largely avoiding it," Pehe said.
EU Council President Charles Michel says vaccines should not be used for propaganda purposes.
“We must not allow ourselves to be fooled by China and Russia, regimes with values that are less desirable to us, while organizing largely advertised vaccine delivery operations to other countries,” MIchel said.
Pavel Havlicek , an analyst at the Association for International Affairs, claims that the Kremlin is "rubbing its hands" in the meantime. "Russian vaccine diplomacy is clearly aimed at undermining mutual trust and cohesion in Europe," Havlicek said.
The first and for now the only EU member that uses Sputnik V is Hungary, and the head of diplomacy, Peter Szijjarto , was vaccinated with it . Prime Minister Orban was vaccinated with a vaccine from the Chinese manufacturer Sinopharm.
Of the other post-communist countries, Sputnik V and the Sinopharma vaccine are being used in Serbia, and Albania is about to start negotiations on the procurement of these vaccines.
Bulgaria, Croatia, Latvia and Romania are waiting for the EMA green light for Sputnik V, while Lithuania has completely given up on the Russian vaccine.
Poland is also not interested in Sputnik V.
"In Poland, anything that bears the Russian flag is not welcome," Baranowski said.