Where is Russian and Chinese vaccine diplomacy?

Moscow and Beijing are engaged in “a war of influence,” to use the expression of Emmanuel Macron. The President of the European Commission wonders: why does Russia send doses of Sputnik V abroad when Russians are not vaccinated, or very little?

China and Russia have shipped millions, and even hundreds of millions, of doses around the world. 200,000 doses of Sinopharm, this Chinese laboratory arrived last Wednesday at Senegal. The Chinese foreign minister made a tour of the African continent. There he organized a royal airlift. Then he spent five days in Burma, Indonesia, the Philippines, Brunei, to sell the two vaccines from your country now on the market.

For the Russian vaccine, Sputnik V, the bites started in Venezuela last Thursday. Sputnik has been approved in some thirty countries: from Belarus to South Korea, via Iran, Gaza Strip, Argentina. The Africans have just signed for 300 million doses of Sputnik. Delivery from next May. This will last for one year.

What is the goal of the Russians and the Chinese?

Countries often served as test territories. This is the case of Venezuela, who participated in the Sputnik clinical trials. Brazilians have tried the Chinese Sinovac vaccine. And now these vaccines are even landing in theEuropean Union. the Hungary it was the first country in the Union to receive doses of Russian and Chinese vaccines. the Croatia and the Slovakia they are following the same path.

It’s a bit hard to believe humanitarian reasons. Putin, who touts Sputnik V, named after the first Soviet satellite during the Cold War, as the best vaccine in the world., wants to take this opportunity to get revenge on the Americans. The Kremlin wants Russia to regain its stature as a great scientific power and expand in its areas of influence, the former Soviet republics, then in friendly countries.

Doses were also delivered to secessionist regions of Ukraine. In the middle of the Navalny affair, Sputnik V can improve Moscow’s image and it can also divide the European Union. Finally, look at the tensions this causes, even in France, with the far left and far right claiming it.

For the Chinese vaccine, Beijing is currently slowing exports to vaccinate its own population. But China would like to accelerate what is called the silk road of health: to establish its pharmaceutical industry in every possible market.

However, it is recalled that these Chinese and Russian vaccines have the merit of existing. They are very useful for developing countries that are still waiting for the doses promised by the West through the Covax humanitarian plan. For now, it is each for himself.

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