The French far-right presidential candidate was in Moscow and met with the president of Russia last week. This was the first official face-to-face meeting between Marine Le Pen and Vladimir Putin.
Le Pen had left journalists guessing if she was going to meet with Putin, and the meeting came as a little bit of a surprise. Even so, their confounding rendezvous has a lot to reveal to those opposing Russian-French friendship.
Perhaps Le Pens’ surprising move is a message for those who bashed her previously for being friendly with Russia. Now, by her actions, Marine Le Pen is declaring she really does not care and thinks this is the best way to go for Paris. As she suggested before, this is what France needs to do – build stronger ties with Russia.
Such positions put her in sync with the Kremlin viewpoint and there has been wide speculation that Russia aims to influence the upcoming French election. As the mainstream media suggests, embracing Le Pen is part of Russia’s efforts to reach out to nationalist and anti-globalist forces, build up its influence in the West, and help overcome the strain in relations with the U.S. and European Union. Nevertheless, during the meeting Vladimir Putin had something to say:
“We attach great significance to our relations with France and we try to maintain relations with the representatives of the current authorities as well as those in the opposition. We know of course that the presidential campaign is in full swinging now in France and by no means have we wanted to influence current events. However, we reserve the right to talk to all the representative from all the political forces of the country, just as our partners in Europe and the U.S. do,” “
The Russian president also called on joint efforts in the fight against terrorism with France and that echoed some of the things the French presidential candidate said during her meetings with Russian lawmakers earlier.
In the meeting with members of the Duma, Le Pen praised Putins’ actions and urged Russia and France to work together to save the world from globalism and Islamic fundamentalism. Plus she said she wanted to bring an end to hostile relations between her country and Russia.
Another area where she promised to make an effort was to ease Russian sanctions, which she called counterproductive and unfair. Marine le Pen said that France at least could get rid of so-called black lists, which were also part of anti Russian measures.
One fact is cristal clear, Le Pen received a $9.7 million loan from a Russian Czech bank and it drew condemnation from the local authorities in 2014. The number one question right now is of course how much criticism is she going to receive back home for what she said and did on Friday. She’s been a quite frequent visitor in Moscow lately and that keeps raising eyebrows in France.
We have seen how intensively they have played the Russian theme in the U.S. presidential campaign, and we now can see this theme exploited in the French campaign. Perhaps, while the mainstream media is getting hysterical about the possibility of Putin’s interference, the Kremlin keeps persuading itself and the Russian population that its policy is shaping the future and its vision of the world will win.