The Sputnik V Moment: Biotech, Biowarfare and COVID-19 Vaccine Development in Russia and in Former Soviet Satellite States

Marek Naczyk*, Cornel Ban

*Corresponding author for this work

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Why have Russia and Cuba developed and produced vaccines against COVID-19 while Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries that are members of the European Union have only played a marginal role in the global supply of such vaccines? We argue that the answer is to be found in the capacity of Russia’s national security state and entrepreneurs to mobilise historic Soviet advantages as part of a broader security motivated statecraft. CEE countries lacked this legacy and this drive. Similarly, they failed to massively invest – as for example, Cuba has – into potential synergies between public health systems and biotech firms.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEast European Politics
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)571-593
Number of pages23
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • Biological weapons
  • Biotechnology
  • COVID-19
  • National security state
  • Russia
  • Vaccines

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