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 “an internal victory” with the planned course of Russia’s coronavirus vaccine, after mismanaging his country̵7;s outbreak and failing to revive the economy, an expert said Wednesday.
Claiming 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 controls.” His claim has drawn skepticism from scientists and public health officials.
“Let us be very vague here: Putin needs a victory, he needs an internal victory,” J. Stephen Morrison, a senior vice president at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, told CNBC’s Squawk Box Asia “.
“He has mismanaged the explosion within his territory, he has lost public confidence in his efforts, his economy is on his back, he can not deliver any of the big costly public infrastructure projects he promised in the last election campaign. , “he added.
Russia reports more than 895,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus disease and over 15,100 deaths as early as Wednesday afternoon in Asia, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. The country’s cumulative infections are the fourth highest in the world after the US, Brazil and India, Hopkins data showed.
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 wider “phase three” trials are only scheduled to begin on Wednesday. There should not yet be any published evidence of early evidence, so the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine remain unclear.
However, Russia has announced that a full-scale production would begin next month.
“This is a case of Russia cutting corners for big profits, big wins domestically and – they hope – internationally,” Morrison said.
“Risk high risk, this is high risk of going backwards, especially if it has an adverse impact and if they try to cover them. And this is not the normal rule of the road, and so it is causing a lot of embarrassment.”
With the vaccine, Putin is trying to evoke the “golden days” of many years of Russian science and immunology, said Morrison, who is also director of the CSIS Global Center for Health Policy.
The Russian president has also sold the vaccine to other countries, including the Philippines, Brazil and Saudi Arabia, according to Morrison. It could be that Putin was “playing the anxiety” between low- and middle-income countries that they would lose to resource-rich nations to get vaccines produced by major global pharmaceutical companies, he explained.
– CNBC’s Holly Ellyatt contributed to this report.