World News: Putin Offers A Vaccine to Hard Hit EU

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As Russia knocks on the door of the European Union by offering a precious COViD-19 vaccine, the serum offers the Russian President Vladimir Putin the opportunity to re-enter the European diplomatic game. Not without an ironic malice.

Sputnik V. The name, to say the least is iconoclastic, given by the Russians to the vaccine released from the Gamaleya Institute, presented as 91.6% effective against Covid-19 and likely to stop the coronavirus epidemic.

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In these times, some would have likened it to a new preamble, a series of orders able to disseminate the precious serum as soon as possible. In the opinion of many epidemiologists, Sputnik V is reliable and easy to use. Only all these qualities are not enough to convince the Europeans.

France, in the lead, and against the Germans are more open to a future use. So, the question to date is what obstacles are there to the use of this vaccine on European and French soil in particular?

In fact, there is no point in looking for other explanations other than Russian-European diplomacy. Relations between the EU and Russia, and in particular France and Russia, marked by a freshness of the great hours of the Cold War, explain the European reluctance.

From Navalny to Syria

First, the Navalny case, which pitted President Vladimir Putin against human rights defender in Russia, is one of the reasons for the further improvement of relations between Europe and Russia.

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Added to this is Moscow's more or less marked interference in the Syrian crisis, which is entering its tenth year and of which Europe and France have been excluded because of their inertia and their inability to impose themselves against Bashar al-Assad.

Of course, some still and rightly will argue that the Russian vaccine has not been approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA), offering the most reluctant an unexpected margin for maneuvering  that  remains ad hoc and temporary. For if the MEA were to give its approval, few pretexts except purely diplomatic could hinder the use of the vaccine.

After diplomatic arguments, it is also not to exclude French vexation following the inability of the hexagonal pharmaceutical industry to create its own vaccine. And if using a foreign vaccine does not seem to offend national pride, on the other hand using a Russian vaccine is beyond comprehension within the executive.

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To give in would be to put Vladimir Putin back in the European diplomatic game when refusing is likened to a form of diplomatic retaliation following the imprisonment of Alexei Navalny, to Vladimir Putin's contempt for European protests, and more broadly to the global protests of Europeans following Russian domestic or foreign policy.

Time and Health Emergency

France and the European Union, which no longer hides its visions of the Russian vaccine option, are standing up to Moscow. But for how long? Russian cynicism takes on its full dimension here.

For, by having a vaccine recognized by many as effective, a strong ally, here Germany which did not intend to use it, Vladimir Putin puts in the balance of pragmatism the possibility of immunizing thousands of people against principles, essential and non-negotiable for any democracy that respects itself, whose scope and content are likely to fade in the face of the growing health emergency.

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Vladimir Putin thus draws a form of health geopolitics based not on economic or military power but on the vital need to save human lives at the cost of principals to which he does not specially adhere. And this vaccine, appropriately named Sputnik as the first Soviet satellite launched in October 1957, allows Putin to put a foot in the European diplomatic game.



Bio: Olivier Longhi has extensive experience in European history. A seasoned journalist with fifteen years of experience, he is currently professor of history and geography in the Toulouse region of France. He has held a variety of publishing positions, including Head of Agency and Chief of Publishing. A journalist, recognized blogger, editor, and editorial project manager, he has trained and managed editorial teams, worked as a journalist for various local radio stations, a press and publishing consultant, and a communications consultant.

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