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Sputnik vaccine aims to bolster Russia’s geopolitical influence

AFP, Dec 8, 2020

But analysts said the shot was about geopolitics as well as public health, designed to reaffirm the underlying message of Putin’s two-decade rule: Russia is back.

“It’s a way for him to prove that Russia is capable of developing complex technologies and being at the top of the world’s scientific elite,” said analyst Tatiana Stanovaya, founder of the R.Politik center, a political consultancy. Putin wants to show that Russia is at the “forefront of this pandemic and even more successful than developed countries,” she said.

India, Venezuela and Belarus have said they will partner for clinical trials and other Kremlin-friendly governments have pre-ordered more than one billion doses of the jab. But ultimately, Stanovaya said, there remains a question mark over whether or not the vaccine was actually effective since Russia was seen as using it primarily for geopolitical clout. “To have geopolitical dividends you need a successful product first,” she warned.

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