Translated by Ollie Richardson
In 2016 many western politicians publicly supported Russia – in particular, they supported the cancellation of sanctions and the building of relations with Moscow. Experts predict a growth of pro-Russian sentiment among the western elite next year. RT publishes a selection of statements of major politicians made during the expiring year in support of Russia.
The elected U.S. President Donald Trump has repeatedly made statements that are pro-Russia, non-standard for Washington. Here is what the billionaire declared during his election campaign:
“I was in Moscow two years ago, and here I will tell you: it is possible to get on with these people, very well. It is possible to do deals with them. Obama can’t”.
And at the beginning of August, Trump spoke about the situation in Crimea.
“Attempts by the USA to take Crimea away from Russia by force and return the peninsula to Ukraine can provoke a third world war,” the republican declared at the time.
Later, in October, the billionaire noted that in the event of victory, he may meet the President of Russia Vladimir Putin, and called such an opportunity “wonderful”.
“I think it would be wonderful,” Trump noted at the time.
In France in 2017 presidential elections will take place. During the primaries for the Republican party in 2016, the former Prime Minister François Fillon more than once expressed sympathy for Russia. Previously he called sanctions against Moscow a “crazy gesture”, which “didn’t give anything, except the ruin of European farmers”.
“Russia is the biggest country in the world… Should we try to stabilize Russia and to strengthen its position in Europe, or try to isolate it, to provoke and push it to Asia, which is a real problem?” asked the French politician.
Another participant in the political life of the Fifth Republic is the National Front party leader Marine Le Pen, who in September declared that in the event of her election victory she will recognize Crimea as a part of Russia.
“There is no reason to be afraid. We have friends in Russia, and we have a very long relationship, and historically it is based on friendship,” said Le Pen. She added that she considers Russia as a European country with which it is more reasonable to conduct negotiations and to conclude cooperation agreements.
In addition, Le Pen praised the activity of the Russian President Vladimir Putin in defending the interests of his country and its identity.
On September 26th, Marine Le Pen declared that she will recognize Crimea as a part of Russia in the event of being elected to the post of President of France. She also emphasized that the EU sanctions acting against Moscow not only contradict the interests of Paris, but also violate a centuries-old tradition of France, which earlier “weren’t equal to others”.
In Germany one of the main competitors of the ruling coalition of CDU/CSU at the upcoming parliamentary elections in 2017 is the euroskeptic party “Alternative for Germany”.
Party members have repeatedly declared the need to remove the sanctions against Russia and the ending of the hostility from the EU. In particular, the faction in parliament of Baden-Württemberg in May adopted a resolution involving the cancellation of restrictions against Moscow.
At the same time, the leader of the youth wing of the party Markus Frohnmaier visited Crimea and Moscow. He declared:
“The anti-Russian sanctions have to be lifted, they turned against us and have negative consequences for the economy. Russia is one of the key partners of Baden-Württemberg, trade relations shouldn’t diminish”.
Recall that the party supports a restriction of migration, an increase in grants to citizens of Germany, and a decrease in the influence of US policy.
In the elections to regional parliaments that passed in the summer of 2016, it received 23 places in Baden-Württemberg, 24 places in Saxony-Anhalt, 25 places in Berlin, 14 places in Rhineland-Palatinate, and 18 places in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern.
Parliamentary party of Italy “Lega Nord” also supports the lifting of sanctions concerning Moscow. Previously, the party declared Matteo Salvini’s nomination for the post of Prime Minister, who doesn’t see a reason for accusing Russia of annexing Crimea, since a referendum took place there. Also the politician called the sanctions against Russia “absolutely unprofitable for (Italian) business”.
As a reminder, the Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi earlier initiated a referendum in support of changes to the constitution, having declared that in the event of an unsuccessful vote he would resign. The referendum took place on December 4th and was recognized as invalid, then Matteo Renzi resigned.
According to the Italian media, elections in the country can already take place in the summer of 2017.
Czech Republic, Hungary, Serbia
In November, 2016, in Prague the presidents of the Czech Republic and Serbia Miloš Zeman and Tomislav Nikolić issued a joint statement in support of lifting the sanctions against Russia.
In particular, the leader of Serbia Nikolić declared: “While I am President, I will oppose the imposition of sanctions (concerning Russia)”. In December he was supported by the vice-Chancellor and the Minister of the Economy of Austria Reinhold Mitterlehner, who stated the need for a stage-by-stage lifting of sanctions of Russia.
As RT previously wrote, the Czech president called the sanctions the main obstacle for the economy of the Czech Republic – they cause damage to the industry of the country. Zeman then declared:
“Any fool can create an enemy for himself, but to find a friend is a hard diplomatic task”.
In addition, after the end of the NATO summit in Poland, the leader of the Czech Republic voiced a need for a development of dialogue between NATO and Russia.
“The attitude of the North Atlantic alliance to Russia is dual. In statements (NATO), on the one hand, Russia is exposed to criticism. At the same time, in some spheres Russia is considered as a partner,” said Zeman.
As a reminder, earlier in February a meeting took place between Vladimir Putin and the Prime Minister of Hungary Viktor Orbán. At the time the Hungarian leader said that a 40% recession in trade between the two countries is caused by an adverse international situation.
“I am sure that Russia is not the enemy of Hungary, but a partner, and our partnership isn’t threatened,” Orbán declared at the time.
“Trump sets the fashion”
Doctor of political sciences, professor of Moscow State University Andrey Manoylo told RT that after the elections in Europe in 2017 the support of Russia will only intensify.
“In Italy, in the place of the retired Matteo Renzi the candidature of Silvio Berlusconi will be proposed – known for friendly relations with Vladimir Putin; in Germany it is already obvious that Angela Merkel won’t be re-elected – there will be most likely a candidate from the right; Marine Le Pen or François Fillon can win in France,” said the political scientist.
He also noted that a change of elite in Europe will be followed by a fight against the previous political parties, in particular, supporting the conflict with Russia. Thus, Washington will provide an influence on EU policy.
“The fashion of a restoration of relations with Russia was set by Trump, Europe will have to prove that it is part of the Western world, to support his policies,” the expert noted.
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