Last week, Russian state media and diplomats continued to emphasize the safety of and demand for the Russian Sputnik V vaccine, as well as developments around a competing Russian vaccine created by the Vektor State Research Center of Virology and Biotechnology. At the same time, state media questioned the safety of Western vaccines under development and continued to push back on “Western attacks” on Sputnik V, with one article labelling them “a corporate cold war against humanity.” Russian coverage of FBI Director Christopher Wray’s testimony before Congress, which included assessments of Russia’s attempts to interfere in the 2020 election, was limited, but RT continued to reiterate claims that there is “no evidence” to support allegations of Russian interference, while Sputnik focused on President Trump’s criticism of Wray. Chinese diplomats and state media last week provided extensive coverage of the climate-fueled natural disasters in the United States, using the catastrophes to criticize President Trump’s climate policies. Another topic of interest was the virtual China-EU summit, which is covered in detail in a separate ASD blog post. Iranian messengers last week continued to criticize the U.A.E. and Bahrain over their normalization of relations with Israel, with particular emphasis placed on the fact that the states were not in a state of hostility with each other prior to the agreement. Finally, in two widely engaged-with tweets, Foreign Minister Javad Zarif attacked President Trump and Secretary of State Pompeo, accusing the former of having been “bamboozled” by the latter into assassinating Maj. Gen. Soleimani, “ISIS’ enemy #1.”
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