Saturday, 20 January, 2018

Marine Le Pen meets with Vladimir Putin on visit to Moscow

Melinda Barton | 25 March, 2017, 00:11

Reuters suggested that the meeting with Putin is "a coup for Le Pen", boosting her foreign policy credentials.

France's far-right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen has urged an end to the European Union (EU) sanctions imposed against Russian Federation over the crisis in Ukraine.

The visit comes after speculation Le Pen may be seeking Russian money for her campaign.

The deputy dean of the Faculty of Global Economics and International Affairs of the Higher School of Economics of the National Research University, Andrei Suzdaltsev, speaking to Vestnik Kavkaza, said that Le Pen's visit shows that Russian Federation is an important factor in the internal political life of the European Union in general and France in particular.

Vedral said he suspects that a lot of those people don't want to admit they will vote for Le Pen, who is a hardliner against immigration, particularly Muslim immigration.

Le Pen noted that France and Russian Federation have deep cultural, economic and strategic ties, adding that "this meeting is especially important when we are facing such a serious terrorist threat", the French politician noted. French law doesn't bar foreigners from contributing in its political campaigns.

In 2014, the National Front received a nine-million-euro ($9.7 million) loan from a Russian commercial bank that later collapsed. But shortly thereafter sent out a retraction. "Now Marin Le Pen and Francois Fillon have competed for that part of the French electorate, which is focused on improving relations with Russian Federation, in this case, this electorate will not be expanded, as Fillon and Le Pen are trying to divide it", Andrei Suzdaltsev explained. An unconfirmed report this week said that Fillon was paid $54,000 to arrange a meeting between Putin and a Lebanese magnate.

The French presidential election is followed by parliamentary elections in June. However, this made it possible to reveal the opposition, which is countering this phenomenon in the EU, Le Pen added.

Her visit Friday follows a trip this week to Chad, base of a French military operation aimed at rooting out Islamic extremists from a swath of Africa. Earlier this year she visited Lebanese President Michel Aoun and Chadian President Idriss Deby.

Her stance on Francafrique actually gained some traction among Africans, who see her protectionism and nationalism as a way of wresting their countries from French meddling.

What is concerning though, is the level of devotion expressed by Le Pen's supporters. (That's a family affair: Le Pen's father, Jean-Marie Le Pen, rose to political prominence on the same controversial platforms of his daughter). "I remember her father's words: "I like Africans - but in only in Africa".