Russian President Vladimir Putin during a meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to discuss the situation in Syria.
Mikhail Metzel | TASS | Getty Images
President Vladimir Putin is trying to mark “a domestic victory” with the planned launch of Russia’s coronavirus vaccine, after mismanaging the country̵7;s outbreak and failing to revive the economy, an expert said on Wednesday.
It claims to be the first Covid-19 vaccine in the world, Putin announced on Tuesday that Russia’s vaccine “works effectively” and “has passed all necessary revisions.” His claim has proven the skepticism of scientists and public health officials.
“We’re going to be very forceful here: Putin needs a victory, he needs a domestic victory,” said J. Stephen Morrison, senior vice president of the think tank Center for Strategic and International Studies at CNBC’s “Squawk Box Asia”.
“It has mismanaged the boom within its own territory, it has lost public confidence and confidence in its efforts; its economy is behind it, it cannot deliver any of the big costly public infrastructure projects it promised in the last election campaign, “he added.
Russia has reported more than 895,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus disease and more than 15,100 deaths as of Wednesday afternoon in Asia, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University. Hopkins data shows the country’s accumulated infections in the fourth highest in the world behind the US, Brazil and India.
Like many other experts, Morrison questioned the speed with which Russia has tested its vaccine. Clinical trials were completed in less than two months and the most extensive “phase three” trials are only scheduled to begin on Wednesday. No published data from previous trials have yet been released, so the safety and efficacy of the vaccine are not yet clear.
Still, Russia has announced that full-scale production would begin next month.
“This is a case where Russia is cutting back on big gains, big national victories and, hopefully, internationally,” Morrison said.
“It’s a high risk, it’s a high risk of attacking fires, especially if there are adverse impacts and if they try to cover them up. And it’s not the normal rules of the road and therefore causes inconvenience.” .
With the vaccine, Putin is trying to evoke the long “golden days” of Russian science and immunology, said Morrison, who is also director of the CSIS Center for Global Health Policy.
The Russian president has also marketed the vaccine to other countries, including the Philippines, Brazil and Saudi Arabia, according to Morrison. Putin was able to “play with anxiety” among low- and middle-income countries that would lose to wealthy nations with the resources to capture vaccines produced by the world’s leading pharmaceutical companies.
– CNBC’s Holly Ellyatt contributed to this report.