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Observers are in a passionate debate over what’s really driving the latest Donbass destabilization, with the most prominent hypotheses being either domestic Ukrainian politics or the US’ regional geostrategic ambitions, but the argument can also compellingly be made that the concept of so-called “vaccine nationalism” is playing a largely under-discussed role in events.
The Two Main Hypotheses
Donbass is on the brink of major destabilization once again, yet observers are in disagreement over what’s really driving the latest events. Some believe that domestic Ukrainian politics are to blame and that Kiev’s ruling party aims to provoke a regional crisis in order to distract from its plummeting popularity. Evidence in support of this hypothesis includes the government’s recent witch hunt against opposition figures and its draconian banning of many Russian-language media outlets in the country.
President Zelensky also promulgated a decree late last month which practically declares war on Russia and explicitly threatens Crimea. The other theory about the US’ regional geostrategic ambitions is backed up by the its ominous statement of support for Ukraine as well as Washington’s preexisting motives for destabilizing Moscow’s western periphery, which prompted Russia to promise its own ominously support for its passport holders in the country. Both theories have a lot of truth to them, but they’re missing a crucial component which could complete the strategic picture.
That’s the concept of so-called “vaccine nationalism”, which refers to countries’ efforts to promote their COVID-19 vaccines abroad while also sometimes simultaneously thwarting their competitors’ selfsame attempts. In the current context, Russia’s “vaccine diplomacy” of exporting Sputnik V across the world to save lives, restore the economy, and also for the supplementary purpose of expanding its multipolar influence is on the brink of a globally game-changing success after Politico reported over the weekend that “More EU Countries Eye Separate Deals With Russia For Sputnik Vaccine”.
This was preceded just a few days prior by a related report about how “Macron And Merkel Discuss Vaccine Cooperation With Russia”.