Сountering СOVID-19 as a tool for Hybrid Influence of Russia and China on Regional Subsystems of International Relations: European and Asian Dimensions

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In the XXI century the system of international relations has undergone transformations, including non-traditional determinants. This research drew attention to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on modernization of the policies of great powers, which began to use pandemic countermeasures as a tool of their influence on future post-COVID international order. The authors analyze the peculiarities of using “hard power” (economic pressure) and “soft power” (economic aid, cultural interaction), and sometimes a combination of these tools on the example of Russia and China in order to lobby their own position under the pandemic of COVID-19 in the relevant geopolitically close regions – Europe and Southeast Asia. This research analyses all above mentioned peculiarities based on chronological period – at the beginning of pandemic situation in 2020.

It was found that Russia most actively used the effects of the beginning of global pandemic on the European direction of foreign policy, under the impact of energy factor and the formation of the image of “peacemaker” and the role of “messiah” in the region. In the study, Italy is an example of the use of hybrid influence from Russia, the spread of fakes and the presentation of the “weakness” of the EU at the beginning of the pandemic in a rapid political response to the threat. Southeast Asia became the region of Chinese foreign policy in counteracting COVID-19, where China’s “mask diplomacy” acts as a countermeasure to overcome conflict in the South China Sea, form a system of “subordination” and realization the idea of “community of common destiny”.

The findings reveal that Russia and China can be characterized as states that have political regimes with special tools and mechanisms for policy implementation. Beijing and Moscow not only aim to strengthen their influence in neighboring regions, but also to oppose the United States. Analyzing political actions and mechanism that Russia and China used at the beginning of pandemic, the authors confirmed that both countries aim to use “vaccine diplomacy” as an effective tool for influencing the coronavirus international order.


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How to Cite
Shevchuk, O. and Tykhonenko, I. (2022) “Сountering СOVID-19 as a tool for Hybrid Influence of Russia and China on Regional Subsystems of International Relations: European and Asian Dimensions”, Problems of World History, (17), pp. 158–182. doi: 10.46869/2707-6776-2022-17-7.
Author Biographies

Oleksandr Shevchuk

Shevchuk Oleksandr – Doctor of Political Science, Professor, Professor of Petro Mohyla Black Sea National University.

Iryna Tykhonenko

Tykhonenko Iryna – PhD in Political Science, Associated Professor of Petro Mohyla Black Sea National University.


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