Last week, Russian state media and diplomats continued to champion the Sputnik V vaccine, with the announcement of a deal for Venezuela to buy 10 million doses of the Russian vaccine receiving particular attention. Four of the top ten most-retweeted tweets for the week were related to the Russia-Venezuela relationship, including diplomatic messaging about the strength of the countries’ bilateral cooperation. Continuing a theme from the past several months, vaccine coverage highlighted ongoing global interest in and the efficacy of the Sputnik V vaccine, while emphasizing problems affecting Western vaccine rollouts, including logistical issues, allergic reactions and other safety incidents, and inoculation refusals. A small amount of Russian state media content covered a lawsuit that John Paul Mac Isaac, the owner of the computer repair shop where Hunter Biden allegedly left a compromising laptop, filed against Twitter for defamation. State media continued to frame both the laptop contents and the response to the shop owner as substantiated scandals.
Chinese diplomats and state media last week celebrated the conclusion of negotiations on the EU-China Comprehensive Agreement on Investment (CAI), with Chinese diplomats from Botswana to India to the United States promoting the deal on Twitter. The importance of the deal was evidenced by the fact that in the last week of December the European Union was the fourth most-mentioned country or region in tweets from Chinese accounts monitored by Hamilton; by contrast, the EU did not feature in the ten most-mentioned locations over the entire month of November. In customary fashion, Beijing used the conclusion of the negotiations to highlight the geopolitical isolation of the United States.
In a busy week for Iran on the world stage, Iranian diplomats and state media zeroed in on grievances with the United States, with monitored accounts mentioning the United States more often than Iran itself last week. A large share of the traffic consisted of calls for Major General Soleimani’s assassination to be avenged, including the promotion of the hashtag #WillNeverForgiveWillNeverForget. Iranian accounts also continued to blast Israel last week, charging that Israel would commit a false-flag attack on U.S. forces in Iraq in order to provoke war with Iran, amongst other more familiar accusations. Finally, Iran continued its ever-present effort to denigrate the United States by emphasizing the ongoing social, economic, and political dysfunction in the country.