Reality Upends Geopolitical Games: The Slovakia Case of the Russian Vaccine
March 6 , 2021 (EIRNS)—Occasionally, the reality of the new coronavirus even trumps the Pavlovian response of Western politicians, addicted to playing geopolitical games. RT covers such a story.
Slovakia, with a population of 5.5 million, has had 320,000 official cases of COVID-19 and over 7,600 deaths. (These are numbers proportional to the U.S. case. Translated, they would be around 20,000,000 cases and 456,000 deaths.) The EU had left its member states with little or no vaccines. Earlier, Hungary broke the ban against using the Sputnik V vaccine, and Slovakia recently followed in turn.
On March 1, Prime Minister Igor Matovic welcomed the first shipment of 200,000 doses (of a 2 million dose order) at the airport, saying that “there was no time to waste, there’s a shortage of vaccines in the country.” (Again, getting 2 million doses would be like the U.S. getting 120 million doses. It is major.) Immediately, Slovak President Zuzana Caputova and Foreign Minister Ivan Korcok attacked Matovic, and two deputy prime ministers threatened to break up the four-party coalition government. Matovic was called “Putin’s sidekick,” deserving to be in a “hall of shame” and the Sputnik V vaccine was labeled as part of the Kremlin’s “hybrid war,” a “geopolitical weapon of Russia.”
Then, the Russian Direct Investment Fund, sponsors of the Sputnik V vaccine, offered that if their vaccine were destabilizing the Slovak political situation, RDIF would be willing to take back the vaccine with no penalties. At that point, Matovic pointed out, all the nasty attacks ceased. It appears that, when push comes to shove, even frenetic and opportunistic politicians know they need the vaccines, and their silly and vicious games sometimes do yield to reality.
Matovic since posted on Facebook that the “Sputnik [V vaccine] is not going back to Russia.... We are an integral part of the EU, but yet I can’t refuse to save our people with a quality vaccine only because it’s made in Russia.... I am not a killer.”