Posts by Judyth Twigg

Judyth Twigg 01-22-2021
(Moscow Times) Russia’s signature Sputnik V (for “Victory”) Covid-19 vaccine has been enmeshed in controversy from the moment of its launch. Western analysts have questioned Sputnik V’s safety, efficacy, and most of all its leapfrogging of established clinical trial hurdles in a rush toward national regulatory approval last August. The Russian government has grown increasingly and visibly irritated with this external criticism. But they’ve brought it on...
Judyth Twigg 08-21-2020
(CSIS) What do Texas and Sverdlovsk have in common? Remarkably, quite a bit. They’re both large, diverse, economically vital areas of their countries just emerging from a completely avoidable second wave of coronavirus infection that has ripped through society, imposed special cruelties upon racial minorities and the poor, bent health systems to the breaking point, and exposed failures of leadership. And they are case studies of the ways the U.S. and...
Judyth Twigg 08-17-2020
(FiveThirtyEight) Russia is the first country to approve a vaccine for COVID-19 — reportedly by speeding through multiple steps in the testing process. Judy Twigg, a political scientist from Virginia Commonwealth University, talks about the state of medical research in Russia, and the political implications of this move. Read More | Listen © FiveThirtyEight  
Judyth Twigg 07-22-2020
(Atlantic Council) On July 23, Ukraine’s Constitutional Court will hear arguments challenging the landmark 2017 legislation that overhauled the country’s healthcare system. It’s the latest salvo in an ongoing war pitting entrenched interests—empowered by the health minister—against the fundamental needs of patients and their families. Backsliding on Ukraine’s health reform has not attracted the same headlines as other reversals of reforms in banking,...
Judyth Twigg 04-30-2020
(RAD) This issue of the RAD focuses on Russia and the Covid-​19 Pandemic. First, Judy Twigg analyzes the challenge the coronavirus pandemic poses to Russia. The author contends that Russia’s approach to containing the virus and the healthcare system’s condition raise serious questions about the efficacy of the much-​vaunted “power vertical” in this instance. Second, Gunter Deuber looks at the two simultaneous economic crises facing Russia: an oil market...
Judyth Twigg 03-09-2020
(CFR/Think Global Health) ussia is surrounded by COVID-19. As of March 6, at least nine of its 16 neighboring countries have reported cases, and it shares a 4,300-km land border with China. Its own confirmed number of cases so far is in the single digits. There’s no evidence yet of community spread, and containment measures have been aggressive. But there is plenty of reason to worry about Russian infrastructure and capacity for mitigation. The Russian...
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Judyth Twigg 06-07-2017
(P&P blogs) It has become commonplace to talk about nearing the "finish line" on polio eradication, but critical challenges remain along the last mile. Courageous vaccinators confront a varied array of daily challenges and threats. Anti-vaxxers scare away vulnerable parents and families with disproven claims about links between vaccines and autism, leading to serious recent measles outbreaks in Italy and Romania, among theme park vacationers in...
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Judyth Twigg 04-01-2016
(CSIS) Two children contracted polio in western Ukraine, right at Europe’s doorstep, in August 2015. This outbreak and response laid bare the degree to which Ukraine’s immunization and overall health system are broken, well beyond what had been commonly understood, crippled by deep corruption, inadequate financing, and widespread popular mistrust. In global terms, Ukraine, the black box of eastern Ukraine, and some neighboring countries amount to a...
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Judyth Twigg 10-10-2014
Today’s conflict in Ukraine hinges on perceptions of a stark East-West political divide. This memo assesses the extent to which geographic variation characterizes other elements of today’s Ukraine, mainly those related to human capital: demography, health, and migration. It also examines human capital factors as determinants or limits impacting the near- to medium-term trajectory of the country as a whole. In sum, demographic decline is even more severe...
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Judyth Twigg 04-04-2014
(CSIS Report) See the recently released report U.S.-Russia Health Engagement: Still on the Agenda from the CSIS Global Health Policy Center by Dr. Judyth L. Twigg. The current turmoil in Ukraine and near-certain resulting isolation of Russia could carry devastating implications for U.S.-Russia collaboration in the health sector. While government-to-government ties may suffer, however, it is important to keep other channels of communication and assistance...

About the author

Professor, Department of Political Science
Virginia Commonwealth University