Commodity for Putin in Value. Business on Political Corruption

National Rally (French: Rassemblement National, abbreviated as RN), formerly known as the National Front (French: Front National, abbreviated as FN) until June 1, 2018, is a French far-right nationalist political party founded by Jean-Marie Le Pen in 1972. The party stands on the principles of French nationalism, populism, and Euroscepticism. Most political analysts consider RN to be an ultra-right party. The official membership count of the party is 83,000. It is regarded as the third largest political party in France, with representation in both the national and European parliaments. The official description of the party reveals little about its true nature. In reality, it is not just a leader-driven party where the leader gathers obedient followers and ideological far-right supporters around them; in the case of the National Rally, it is a party of family domination. The reasons for this will be discussed shortly.

On November 5, 2022, 28-year-old Jordan Bardella officially became the head of the party. He is the first person to lead the party who is not legally related to the Le Pen family. However, he only assumed this position because Marine Le Pen announced she would step down as party chair to lead the parliamentary faction, as the party won a record 89 seats in the 2022 parliamentary elections, up from 8 seats in the 2017 elections. This success allowed the group to become a parliamentary faction for the first time since 1986. Therefore, Marine Le Pen remains the de facto leader of the party.

The party is characterized by anti-European and far-right rhetoric, nationalist views, and opposition to the expansion of the European Union. Marine Le Pen frequently makes harsh statements regarding France’s immigration policy. The European Parliament reacted swiftly by accusing Marine Le Pen of “inciting racial hatred” and stripping her of parliamentary immunity.

Read also: Jordan Bardella pretends to give up Anti-European rhetoric

Throughout her political career, Marine Le Pen has consistently expressed admiration for Putin and his policies. The main foreign policy goal of the National Front is the dissolution of the EU and NATO, to be replaced by a “partnership of independent countries,” aligning with Kremlin narratives. This partnership, in their view, should include Russia and be guided by a trilateral alliance of Berlin, Paris, and Moscow.

In 2014, Russia invaded Ukraine, annexing Crimea and igniting conflict in Donbas. Marine Le Pen’s party, supporting Putin’s actions, faced internal French sanctions, including denial of funding from French banks. This financial struggle led the leadership of the National Front to seek funds from foreign banks. On November 23, 2014, the Czech-Russian Bank responded to the ultra-nationalists call, providing a 9 million euro loan for their election campaign. However, journalistic investigations estimated the total sum of the loan at 40 million euros (the bank is 94.5% owned by Russian entities associated with Gennady Timchenko, Putin’s banker, with the nominal owner being Russian Roman Popov). In November 2014, Marine Le Pen confirmed that the party received a 9 million euro loan from the First Czech-Russian Bank (FCRB) in Moscow for the National Front. In April 2015, a group of hackers published texts and emails between Timur Prokopenko, a member of Putin’s administration, and Konstantin Rykov, a former deputy of the State Duma of the Russian Federation with ties to France, discussing financial support from Russia to the National Front in exchange for support of Russia’s annexation of Crimea. Remarkably, they got it.

However, if anyone thinks the story of the loan ends there, they are gravely mistaken. The Russian company JSC Aviazapchast filed a lawsuit in the Moscow arbitration court against the French far-right party National Rally to recover a loan of 9.14 million euros. This debt arose after Marine Le Pen’s party received a loan from the First Czech-Russian Bank for their election campaign. In July 2016, the Central Bank of Russia revoked FCRB’s license. Before that, in March, the debt was sold to the Russian company Conti, which was engaged in rental car services. In November 2016, the debt was transferred to JSC “Aviazapchast”—a Russian foreign trade company specializing in the supply and after-sales service of Russian civil and dual-use aviation equipment abroad. Essentially, it is a quasi-state company and a major supplier to the Syrian Ministry of Defense, owned by former military personnel close to Russian intelligence services. But the story of this loan doesn’t end there. It only appears straightforward on the surface.

The National Rally repaid the loan from the Russian company “Aviazapchast” early—60 months ahead of schedule—amounting to 6,088,784 euros (why not 9, but now 6 million?). The same announcement explained the miracle by which Le Pen’s party managed to repay the “Russian debt” five years early: “Thanks to a policy of economizing, restructuring of the organs, and renegotiation of contracts, …the results of the legislative elections in June 2022 and the accompanying increase in the National Rally’s annual state subsidy.” This isn’t about miraculous management that allowed the party, having fully paid off other debts, to suddenly decide to repay what it owed to loyal “business partners” from Moscow. Nothing of the sort. A year earlier, in September 2022, treasurer Pfeffer reported that the party had a debt “of 22 to 23 million euros.” He also noted that despite the “austerity course” the party had taken since 2020, there was no way out except to get money from their supporters through loans: “We squeezed everything we could; we can’t do more. The party is well managed.”

To assess the effect of this “squeezing” and “good management,” note that in January 2021, the party’s debt was around 24 million euros. So, despite all the world-declared efforts—cutting staff, reducing rent, etc.—in over a year and a half, the party managed to reduce its debt by only 1 million. And then suddenly it “repays the loan” of more than 6 million? Considering that there were still five years left and the party, as it claims, “no bank” in France would lend to it. Why such a sudden desire to “return the money” when they could keep it? This is how both Marine Le Pen and her party, the National Rally, found themselves indebted to a foreign power, holding them tightly within the bounds of compliance through debt.

To complete the picture, Marine Le Pen immediately described Russian President Vladimir Putin as the “defender of the Christian heritage of European civilization.” The National Front believes that Ukraine has been subjugated by the US due to the “Ukrainian crisis,” not the Russian war waged against Ukraine to seize its territories, gain access to the sea, and acquire the population, especially children, as evidenced by the nature of the combat operations and Kremlin’s kidnappings. Despite all this, the National Front condemns anti-Russian sentiments in Eastern Europe and the subjugation of Western Europe to NATO’s interests in the region.

European far-right groups, often labeled as neo-Nazis and neo-fascists, including representatives of France’s National Front, not only supported Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014 but also made up the majority of European “observers” for the illegitimate “referendum” in Crimea.

Read also: Scandal-Hit Former Frontex Director Runs for EU Parliament with Far-Right Party

In April 2014, the leader of the French nationalists, Marine Le Pen, publicly expressed support for terrorists in Eastern Ukraine. By mid-May, she said she shared common values with Putin and declared that she wanted federalization in Ukraine—clearly echoing Kremlin propaganda narratives and working off bloody Russian money.

It is crucial to understand that this isn’t just about “Russian money.” Russia has little to offer the world: no technological products or intellectual works, only raw materials. These are the funds paid by European Union countries for the energy supplies from Russia, trickling back into Europe. The slightest increase in hydrocarbon prices allows the Kremlin to buy new political parties and new “patriotic” politicians. In reality, these parties and movements are simply on Putin’s payroll, periodically justifying it by echoing Kremlin propaganda narratives. This is evident by just reviewing statements from such parties, often simultaneous, written as if copied and issued as a circular to be read in European media. This is political corruption and the monetization of voters’ voices by cunning politicians manipulating the public’s sentiments, and at the same time, it is the ultimate result of the information war in the ideological confrontation with Western civilization.

But let’s return to the French “friends of Putin,” or one might say, the French branch of Putin’s “United Russia” party. The National Front and its leaders have repeatedly been embroiled in scandals due to accusations of anti-Semitism and racism. For example, the National Front advocated for banning special menus for Muslim students in French schools, and compared Muslims praying on French streets to German occupiers during World War II.

In May 2014, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble, commenting on the results of the European Parliament elections, called Marine Le Pen’s National Front party “fascist,” which is entirely logical. Fascist Russia multiplies its Nazi perspective through its generously paid puppets across Europe, and the National Front, which became the National Rally, never hid the fact of its financing and following the propaganda line. On May 26, 2015, Marine Le Pen even visited Moscow and met with the Speaker of the lower house of the Russian Duma, Sergei Naryshkin (the future head of Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service).

As already mentioned, Le Pen has been the French politician closest to Putin’s Russia for many years, always stating that she shares Putin’s global vision. She is attracted to the authoritarianism, imperialism, anti-liberal agenda, and anti-Americanism prevalent in France. However, she once tried to distance herself from the current Moscow führer—after the invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, she stated: “I believe in the sovereignty of nations: if Ukraine wants to join NATO if that is their will, I don’t see who can oppose it.” But these were just words, lacking in sincerity.

She promises her voters a France outside global processes, with a protectionist economy, full of nostalgic values and patriotism. Marine Le Pen has repeatedly promised Frexit if she wins the presidential election. She plans to weaken the role of the EU, abolish the eurozone, free borders within the EU, and budget rules. If other member states do not agree to this, Le Pen will hold a referendum on France’s exit from the EU within six months, rejecting the euro and returning to the franc. She plans to exit the Schengen Agreement on free movement within the EU and restore border controls with neighboring countries. After that, the politician intends to impose taxes on imports and the employment of foreigners, sharply reduce immigration, and deport all illegals. She will also deport all migrants convicted of crimes and offenses. She has also opposed the wearing of Muslim women’s headscarves that cover the face and against prayers on the streets, calling them unacceptable cultural dangers.

In other words, without migrants, without the euro, without Europe, but with Putin.

The Passions of the Le Pen Family Clan or Show Must Go On

Now we come to why the Le Pen clan’s “party” is a political business project for the family, rather than a reflection of the will of the electorate voting for it.

At the dawn of her political career, Marine ousted her aging father from the helm of the National Front, accusing him of overly fascistizing the party and his personal views. How did she manage this?

In 2011, Marine Le Pen convened a meeting of the National Front leadership in Paris to carry out her planned political “patricide.” She managed to suspend the founder’s membership, who had created this political force more than forty years ago—her father, Jean-Marie Le Pen. Jean-Marie, who would turn 96 in a month, often made radical provocative statements that occasionally got him into the French press. In an interview with the far-right newspaper Rivarol, he claimed that the Nazi gas chambers were merely “a detail of history,” and that Marshal Pétain, head of the collaborationist Vichy government in France, was “an excellent patriot.” After this, Jean-Marie was widely suspected of Nazi sympathies. However, it was not conscience that drove Marine to oust her father, and they executed this maneuver brilliantly, transitioning the party from the aging father to the daughter with broad approval and recruiting new voters.

Read also: Russian propaganda and its influence on sociocultural life in France

In 2011, Marine Le Pen demanded that her father voluntarily step down from his position as honorary president of the party. “She wants my death. Well, she can no longer count on my support,” declared the ultra-right patriarch Jean-Marie, but it was already too late. The daughter had toppled her father from the party’s pedestal. Through her father’s example, Marine Le Pen implemented her idea of “cleansing” the National Front and transforming it into a broad national movement, which eventually led to the party’s renaming. This moment of triumph in political struggle perfectly illustrates Marine Le Pen’s perseverance and pragmatism, applying even within her own family the familiar principle from Soviet times: “To betray in time is not to betray, it’s to foresee.” But it only seems so simple.

French commentators constantly drew historical parallels between the events in the Le Pen family and past occurrences—for example, with the murders in the Borgia family or the customs in ancient Rome, where killing the head of the family helped wash away the stain of shame from the clan. Experts present the Le Pen family tensions as a psychological drama, where Marine Le Pen’s niece (and Jean-Marie’s granddaughter), rising party star Marion Maréchal Le Pen, faces a difficult choice. The newly elected deputy, Marion Maréchal Le Pen, wavers between loyalty to her grandfather and obedience to her aunt Marine’s party orders. Marion, a talented politician and excellent orator, will disagree on many issues with both her grandfather and aunt, and will eventually leave the party.

But the rise of the National Front and its successes are solely the result of intra-family work. It’s a clear case of cronyism—to the extent that Marine Le Pen even prefers “her own” in her personal life. She declared a third National Front functionary as her common-law husband. While journalists and the public debated whether this was a real political feud or merely a staged act that Marine Le Pen used to finally rid the party of its tainted image of anti-Semites and Pétain followers, which had haunted the National Front since its creation, the reality became apparent.

Marine Le Pen utilized the intra-family rift to externally manifest the party’s renewal. She reached a point where the “patricide” of Jean-Marie Le Pen would benefit the party. It was a clever move, and it paid off. Marine Le Pen and her close associates misled everyone into believing that the party had truly reformed, but it was merely the “excommunication” of Jean-Marie without losing his electorate. Jean-Marie Le Pen handed over the reins to his daughter amid the party’s enthusiastic applause.

However, this was just a successful “marketing” ploy, as the party still adheres to the same ideology that, according to observations, all National Rally members in the European Parliament follow. They are so inclined towards racism, homophobia, and anti-Semitism that they stand out even among European right-wing groups. Marine Le Pen and her allies sit in the European Parliament, where they “struggle with all their might” against the EU and everything it represents.

Marine Le Pen admires the Russian president as a great patriot and a fighter against the “decadent” West, while also accepting financial aid from him. Using this inelegant political blend, Le Pen attracts up to a quarter of the voters in elections. This result is significantly lower than expected, yet it is still a considerable success and secures third place in the race. New National Front voters, who came from the conservative camp, were confused by the party’s duplicity. This is why the “break” between father and daughter was made public, and the National Front, after rejecting its history, may have become even more dangerous than before, as it was better able to conceal its true nature. She succeeded in shedding its demonization. That is, bringing it out of the corner reserved for ideological outcasts and making it acceptable to a significant part of the French population.

Read also: Why pro-Russian MEP from Bulgaria nominated for pro-European party

Life has shown that it was a well-staged spectacle, with Marine being a talented producer, director, screenwriter, director of photography, and an excellent lead actress, with unusual moves, plot twists, and most importantly, a successful financial outcome. The core of the party remains unchanged. Essentially, the National Rally does not change. It is a family enterprise, where disputes always arise but which always moves forward as a unified team.

Why is this? It is a typical corruption situation for post-Soviet countries, where your party or country is practically a family. And family money is sacred. In 2022, the French prosecutor’s office confirmed that it is investigating accusations against Le Pen by the European Anti-Fraud Office. Prosecutors are demanding severe punishments for the accused: up to ten years in prison, “fines of up to 1 million euros or double the income from the crime,” as well as additional punishment in the form of disqualification from participating in elections for up to ten years. The investigation (comprising 30 volumes) concerns Marine Le Pen, her father Jean-Marie Le Pen, her sister Yann Le Pen, her common-law husband Louis Aliot, and former party vice-president Bruno Gollnisch, who, according to the investigation, misappropriated around 617,000 euros from European Parliament funds. Jean-Marie Le Pen misappropriated half of this amount, while his daughter Marine is accused of misappropriating 137,000 euros. Previously, she and party members were accused of spending 280,000 euros (presumably used to buy champagne or order fictitious services from companies close to them). This description closely resembles the current mafia-like Russian government, even though it is about a French family party. It reminds us that the mafia is, first and foremost, a family.

Leader of “Bipolar” Interviews

Everyone knows it is very difficult to sit on two chairs at the same time, even for a hereditary politician like Marine Le Pen and her family. This became particularly evident with the onset of the full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

After February 24, 2022, Marine verbally did not support the military actions but cautiously “condemned” them. Meanwhile, her subordinates, as usual, allowed themselves a bit more. For instance, RN MEP André Rougé wrote an article on the party’s website titled: “Sanctions Against Russia Begin to Work… Against Europe.” In September 2022, Bardella threatened to “sue for defamation” anyone who “hints” at the National Rally’s connections with Russia. His party colleague echoed this sentiment. “As you understand, France would enter the war by sending its troops there. It would be a war between France and Russia. Moreover, we risk dragging all European countries into a third world war, which would be devastating and deadly for all the peoples of Europe,” emphasized RN candidate for the European Parliament Mathieu Valet.

In October 2022, the France 2 channel released an investigation claiming: “Documents highlight Russia’s closeness to Philippe Olivier, a senior RN member and husband of Marine Le Pen’s sister,” and father-in-law of Jordan Bardella. According to the investigation (which Olivier denies), he “is involved” in the project of creating an “alliance” of European far-right (AltInter), attributed to the “Orthodox oligarch” Malofeev.

Read also: Austria. The Revival of “Putin’s Friends”

In every interview Marine Le Pen gives, the duality of her words is evident—trying to please both sides—since she needs to promote Kremlin narratives while distancing herself from the toxic Putin, at least in the eyes of voters.

This results in statements such as: “If Russia wins the war, it will be a disaster, and if Ukraine wins, it will mean that a third world war has been unleashed.” According to her, if Western countries continue to slowly supply weapons to Ukraine, they will face “a new Hundred Years’ War” (a prolonged medieval conflict between England and France), “which due to human losses will become a terrible drama.” When Le Pen was asked how she would end the war, she replied: “If Russia wins the war, it will be a catastrophe because all countries with territorial conflicts will think they can resolve them with weapons.” She added, “I’m not going to give you a peace plan right here on the coffee table.”

Her father was accused of fascism, the party of anti-Semitism and racism, and she of vote rigging in legislative sessions at least eight times. She has been charged with illegal expenditures amounting to around five million euros. “In just a few years, we transformed from the most hated party in France to the most loved party in France,” asserts Marine, leader of the largest far-right party in Europe, and immediately rejects this postulate. “We have never been far-right,” she claims, arguing that the party radically opposes some principles characteristic of the far-right, such as rejecting the parliamentary system and pluralism, and the use of violence. Le Pen goes even further: “We are not right-wing; we are national. We believe that the nation is the political heart of our project,” she says. Now it becomes clear why the family drama, or rather, the party drama, was necessary.

Nevertheless, the foundations of Le Pen and the National Rally have not changed. One of them is nationalism, which is why she applauds Macron for distancing himself from the United States regarding China, as it resonates with the Kremlin’s position, while simultaneously criticizing Macron in the name of European sovereignty: “For sovereignty to exist, there must be a people, and there is no such thing as a European people.”

Le Pen will not follow the path of another leader from her ideological sphere, Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, who came to power with a pro-NATO and pro-European message. “I remain a Eurosceptic, and with each day I become more of a Eurosceptic.” At the same time, she states that she is “skeptical not about Europe, but about the political organization of Europe.”

Read also: Huawei: espionage, cooperation with Russia, and Russian agents in Kyiv

When reminded of her previous public closeness with Russian President Vladimir Putin, she smiles and denies it: “You have the right to say that, but…” Moments later, upon hearing that she is “rather a Russophile,” she reacts: “I cannot allow people to say that about me.” “When a country like Russia attacks another country and threatens its sovereignty, there can be no equidistance; you must take a certain position,” she adds, stating that she supports sending defensive weapons to Ukraine but opposes offensive weapons. Does she support sanctions? Yes, but not in the energy sector. So, what solution does she propose for the conflict? Peace negotiations. Now. – How much this echoes Putin’s rhetoric through the Kremlin’s loudspeaker about readiness for negotiations.

Thus, Marine Le Pen had to change her rhetoric during this year’s election campaign significantly. On one hand, she condemned Russian aggression and publicly distanced herself from Vladimir Putin. On the other, she emphasized the need to stay true to French national interests and consider the “domestic consequences of anti-Russian sanctions.” Le Pen also spoke against the supply of French weapons to Ukraine, emphasizing that it could escalate into a full-scale conflict involving France. Therefore, the ideological positions of the National Rally shifted from direct support of the Russian regime to indirect support of Russia through the promoted approach of realpolitik in French foreign policy. Traditionally, the primacy of national interests was closer to the center-right republican tradition and thus could find support among voters.

Useful Ultra-Leftists in Putin’s Service

The leader of “La France Insoumise” (Unsubmissive France), Jean-Luc Mélenchon, is a phenomenon on the French political scene. He has been a fixture for decades. His gray hair, wrinkles, and gruff nature do not repel new generations of young people.

Mélenchon skillfully plays on the anxieties and ideological gaps of young people, whom he draws into the nets of his political game. Nearly 80% of support for the party “La France Insoumise” comes from people under 25 years old, thanks in no small part to his adept communication strategy, active presence on social media, and various youth forums.

“He’s like a cool grandpa who has an opinion on everything. He talks in the same slang as we do, talks about injustice, about the gluttonous rich, about the shameless Americans who abandon everyone… This is everything that concerns us. Almost all of my friends are planning to vote for the ‘Unsubmissive’ in the European Parliament elections this spring.”

Mélenchon’s party “has never supported armed assistance to Ukraine, recognition of the Holodomor as genocide, or specific anti-Russian sanctions since the beginning of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine.”

Read also: Two Britts have been arrested for helping Russian spies linked to Wagner PMC

“We are here to reaffirm: no, France is not the far-right. France is social security, it is healthcare, it is emancipation, it is schools, it is science.”

The leader of “Unsubmissive France” often says “whatever comes to his mind.” Especially regarding Russia’s war against Ukraine, which he loves to comment on Twitter. “We are non-aligned. We have neither a master nor a political camp. We reason based on the interests of our country, so we have the same principles under any circumstances. We will never vote for participation in a war against China or Russia,” he wrote recently on his page.

The leader of the socialist party “Unsubmissive France,” Jean-Luc Mélenchon, opposed Ukraine and Georgia’s NATO membership and called for an end to the “anti-Russian hysteria” in Europe. Mélenchon also opposed Ukraine’s NATO membership, which “would hand us over to irresponsibility,” because the Alliance is a “military coalition that we do not control.”

Known for his pro-Kremlin views, Mélenchon stated that Europeans “have no interest in continuing tensions” with Russia. “I am honored when I am compared to a Russian agent because I want peace,” he said in response to opponents’ accusations of his commitment to Russia. Mélenchon’s pro-Russian sympathies are not influenced by either time or arguments. “War with Russia can only lead to our complete destruction. All our allies have rejected Macron’s plan to deploy troops to Ukraine. Our duty is to find ways to discuss peace. Peace is possible!” Mélenchon blatantly lies, “forgetting” the support of the leaders of Finland and the Baltic countries for the idea of a possible armed presence on Ukraine’s side. The terms of “peace” with the Russians are a separate topic altogether, but who checks the information carefully? The black-and-white picture of the world seduces young people, and the illusion of simple solutions to complex problems soothes fears.

Those who closely follow the Russia-Ukraine war strongly disagree with the “Unsubmissive” due to their cynical indulgence of the aggressor. But politically conscious young people under 25 are not that many. In general, most of the country’s residents still support Ukraine. But for ordinary French people, the Ukrainian issue is not the main concern. They are more worried about climate change, drought in southern France, rising prices, job search problems… One’s own shirt is always closer to the body.

Read also: Europe reduces cooperation with authoritarian countries

Why are the French far-left dangerous in the context of supporting Ukraine? Primarily due to the unwavering pro-Moscow position of their charismatic leader. While the far-right, led by Marine Le Pen, mainly abstains during votes on armed assistance “out of respect for the heroic Ukrainian people,” the far-left openly plays along with the Kremlin. Whether during votes in the European Parliament or at the national level, the “Unsubmissive” faction always pours water on the Moscow mill. In the prospect of the European Parliament elections, which will be held in early June, the popularity of this political force creates additional opportunities for the pro-Russian front. Instability across the ocean only exacerbates this danger.

Mélenchon is also suspected by the French prosecutor’s office of the improper use of European Parliament funds to pay salaries to his party workers in France, just like Marine Le Pen, who will soon face trial.

The best comment about this leftist party was made by French Prime Minister Gabriel Attal: “Your world is a world where there is no need for the European Union, where everything needs to be taxed and collectivized,” declared the French Prime Minister, accusing the leftists of trying to “take us back 75 years.”

Zemmour – the Most Right-Wing of the Right or Le Pen Again

Former French presidential candidate, the “French Trump” and “friend of Russia,” 63-year-old journalist and polemicist Éric Zemmour, has created his political movement called “Reconquest.” This right-wing populist does not hide his goals of fighting illegal immigration and has gained significant popularity in recent months partly because of this stance.

According to him, “Reconquest” is the only party that simultaneously opposes immigration and the ideology of “wokeism,” which elevates sexual and racial minorities. “Our party takes a right-wing position on economic issues. In truth, we are the party most compatible with all European right-wing parties. Why? Because these parties have gradually reorganized themselves and managed to focus on the aforementioned three themes.”

“I want to systematically deport everyone who is illegally on our land. I want to deport foreign unemployed people if they cannot find a job within six months. Other democratic countries do this; why can’t we?” Zemmour declares.

Read also: US Treasury warned Raiffeisen Bank International over its work in Russia

Zemmour is a sharp critic of immigration from Muslim countries and has repeatedly stated that the mass influx of migrants into the country must be stopped. Two years ago, he was fined 3,000 euros for inciting hatred based on religion. At that time, Zemmour stated that French Muslims live by their civil code, the Quran, and establish their laws in areas of their compact residence, causing native French people to flee.

According to him, the members of the “Reconquest” party plan to turn the European elections on June 9 into a referendum on immigration. At the beginning of last year’s presidential campaign, Zemmour said he was entering the race to fight against the “great replacement” of native Europeans by newcomers and the Islamization of France. It turns out that France is not alone in this struggle, as immigration and the Islamization of all of Europe are the greatest problems of the 21st century. One continent is flowing into another, namely Africa “flowing” into Europe, slowly replacing it. In 1900, Africa had a population of 100 million people. At that time, Europe had a population of 400 million. Today, Africa has a population of 1.5 billion, while Europe has 750 million. By 2050, there will be two and a half billion Africans. And four billion by 2100! Moreover, half of Africa’s population is under 20 years old, while our population is aging,” claims Zemmour, adding: “Therefore, we must make the issue of immigration a primary concern for Europeans. There are primarily demographic reasons for this (the demographic explosion in Africa disrupts the global balance and primarily the life of our continent). But there is also the reason of our desire to uphold and support democracy: the issue of immigration unites the peoples of Europe and is important for all of them. And finally, in addition to demography and democracy, we are driven by considerations of efficiency: our continent will protect itself better if it unites against this threat and if the state stops imposing migrants on us.”

Zemmour is still relatively unknown as a politician in France. As a publicist and polemicist, yes, but not as a politician.

Éric Zemmour has been accused of disputing a “proven crime against humanity.” The reason was his statements about the French Marshal Pétain, who collaborated with the Nazis. In 2019, Zemmour claimed that Pétain “saved” French Jews during World War II.

In many ways, his position is close to that of the leader of the National Rally, Marine Le Pen. However, Zemmour has recently criticized her for her sharp shift to the center, which is understandable since Zemmour shares the same right-wing electorate and it is in his interest to “bite off” a part of it. The competition on the right wing has become very intense, not just for the right wing, but for the ultra-right electorate. He accuses Marine Le Pen, the candidate from the National Rally, of a position against this alliance of the right and support of the so-called “patriots’ alliance” with the left.

In foreign policy, Zemmour advocates for lifting sanctions against Russia, believes that France should not isolate itself from Moscow, and cites General de Gaulle’s slogan of a Europe “from the Atlantic to the Urals.” He appeals to conservative values, primarily focusing on what is happening within France itself. His statements about “the Atlantic to the Urals” and lifting sanctions are the same card that French right-wing or far-right politicians often play, hoping primarily to attract the domestic electorate that opposes globalization, strengthening ties with the US, and so on. Zemmour has a scandalous flair; his ratings have recently increased, but all his statements are pure populism. Amid the war in Ukraine, Éric Zemmour considers NATO responsible for the bloodshed.

Read also: Mitt Romney: It’s in America’s interest to see Vladimir Putin get the message: “You can’t invade your neighbors”

In the upcoming European Parliament elections, the leader of “Reconquest” decided to delegate all representation to Marion Maréchal, who drops part of her surname Le Pen, being the granddaughter of the far-right patriarch Jean-Marie and niece of Marine Le Pen, retaining the surname of her stepfather who raised her.

“I decided to entrust Mrs. Marion Maréchal to lead the party list for the European Parliament elections. I hope that she will be supported by the youth of all the right-wing parties that supported me during the presidential elections. I believe they will gain the maximum possible percentage of votes,” Zemmour addressed his voters. “Marion Maréchal is a talented woman. The young generation of my party also has great abilities, and I believe they will be able to defend my concept of Europe, and my concept of civilization. As the party leader, I will be with them. Of course, I will campaign. You can do it this way, without being registered as a candidate, to campaign and defend your beliefs, your concept of Europe. It is not necessary to be at the top of the list.”

Jean-Marie Le Pen’s granddaughter and Marine Le Pen’s niece, Marion Maréchal, has the same rating a month before the elections as the Greens. She has long been not an activist of the family party “National Front.” During the last presidential elections in 2022, she announced her support for the far-right writer Éric Zemmour – president of the party “Reconquête!” and is now the leader of the list.

Read also: Top Russian weakness that West can exploit:  Russia’s Crumbling Diplomacy

Recently, Maréchal has regularly expressed support for Ukraine, which, coming from a leader who always actively supported Russia and visited annexed Crimea, sounds strange. The devil, as usual, is in the details. “We can wish Ukraine victory, but at the same time not want to wage war on its behalf,” she says. The red lines are troops in Ukraine, Ukraine’s membership in the EU, and its integration into NATO. She calls Ukraine’s integration into the EU in the future the death of French agriculture.

As in Germany, Putin’s best friends are the “irreconcilable” but equally “like-minded” friends of Putin from the far-right and far-left spectrum, who bring Russian narratives into European society, organize round tables, conferences, and debates where they promote Kremlin rhetoric in their beloved France.

Related Posts