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Changes are taking place on the Brazilian political scene. Former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva recently returned with great political strength, reversing years of popular antipathy. After a controversial judicial decision that extinguished all the prosecutions against him, Lula demonstrated his capacity for political articulation and is making public some maneuvers he had been secretly carrying out until now, the results of which tend to have a great impact in Brazil about a year before of the upcoming presidential elections.
The most notable result of Lula’s articulations is the arrival of the Russian Sputnik V vaccine in Brazil. In the coming weeks, tens of millions of doses of the vaccine will be sent to Brazil, reversing the result of months of the federal government’s campaign against the Russian product. Lula’s role in the arrival of vaccines was fundamental. The ex-president held talks with some of his contacts abroad to try to get around the diplomatic crisis brought about by the Bolsonaro government with his pandemic denialism. Together with the former Health Minister and current deputy Alexandre Padilha, Lula was in contact with the Russian authorities in a parallel diplomacy work.
The work started last year, when Lula, still removed from public life, signed an international manifesto in favor of the classification of vaccines as “common good for humanity” in a campaign for a wide distribution of vaccines for poor countries. The former president was then contacted by the director of the Russian Direct Investment Fund, Kirill Dmitriev, at the request of President Vladimir Putin himself. Putin and Dmitriev’s intention was to show the Russian desire to cooperate with Brazil in medical diplomacy and expand the distribution of Sputnik V. Lula immediately accepted the proposals.
It is curious to note that when Lula started to negotiate with the Russians in November last year, according to information provided by Padilha himself, Brazil had only the Chinese vaccine, whose production center is the Butantan Institute, commanded by the Government of São Paulo. At the same time, the federal government had the ambition to bring the vaccine from Astrazeneca,