The American daily New York Times reported on Sunday how Russia, through Sputnik V, influences politics in Europe, and uses the example of Slovakia to illustrate the political crisis that the purchase of a vaccine can cause. We bring you a substantial part of it.
VIDEO: In mid-April, Igor Matovič criticizes the media for becoming a victim of media lynching for Sputnik.
“The political turmoil in Slovakia is an example of how Russian vaccine diplomacy, which has divided politicians across Europe, can have negative side effects for the country.
President Emmanuel Macron in France recently spoke with Putin about possible supplies of Sputnik, which his own foreign minister called a “propaganda tool.”
Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, angry that European regulators have been slow in approving Sputnik, met with German leader Angela Merkel over the Union’s vaccination program, which so far only includes Western vaccines.
However, Slovakia provides the most concrete example of the side effects of Russian vaccine diplomacy, which can be highly toxic.
The decision of Igor Matovič, the then Slovak Prime Minister, to order two million doses of Sputnik V, led the country into a dispute with the European Union and the pro-Western government to disintegrate.
Instead of applause, Matovic faced the revolt of his own ministers, who accused him of concluding an agreement with Russia behind their backs, breaking the position of the European bloc and succumbing to what his foreign minister Ivan Korchok called Russia’s “hybrid war tool” that “questions” working with the European Union “.
“I thought that people would be grateful that I brought Sputnik to Slovakia,” Matovič mentioned in a recent interview. “Instead, we got into a political crisis and became an enemy of the people.”
Skepticism about Russia’s intentions with its vaccine extends deep across the former communist countries of Central and Eastern Europe. Lithuanian Prime Minister Ingrida Simonyte said in a February twetiet that Putin offered Sputnik Worldwide as a “weapon of division and rule.” And Poland said it was considering buying Chinese vaccines despite similar concerns, but would not order Sputnik V.
A recent GLOBSEC survey found that among those willing to be vaccinated, only one percent of Poles and Romanians and two percent of Lithuanians would prefer Sputnik to American and European brands. Even in Hungary, a lone member of the European Union that has begun vaccinating its citizens with a Russian product, only four percent want Sputnik V.
In Slovakia, however, up to 15 percent of those willing to be vaccinated would prefer the Russian vaccine, offering Moscow the opportunity to break free from isolation caused by deep mistrust elsewhere.
Russia’s focus on Slovakia as a place to create a narrow bridgehead for Sputnik V in Europe was evident long before Matovic decided to order a vaccine.
Peter Köles, director of the Slovak Institute for Security Policy, which monitors Russian misinformation, said this was evident from a changing message from a constellation of conspiracy media in Slovakia that routinely reflected Russia’s worldview and was skeptical of its own pro-Western government.
He said that for most of last year, before anyone even made the vaccine, these sites were fighting vaccination and bringing wild conspiracy theories about plans to inoculate people with nanochips.
“Suddenly, when Putin reported on Sputnik, the narrative changed,” Köles said. Although the pro-Russian media are still skeptical about Western vaccines, they have moved from a critique of vaccination to the praise of Sputnik V as the savior of Slovakia. “
Source: Pravda.sk – Správy by spravy.pravda.sk.
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