Destinations Magazine

France’s Election Shows Europe’s Line Against Russia is Fraying

By Stizzard
France’s election shows Europe’s line against Russia is fraying

VLADIMIR PUTIN must wonder what he did right. From the refugee crisis to Brexit, Europe’s troubles have allowed the Russian president to portray himself as a bulwark of stability in a region of chaos. America’s election brought an apparent Kremlin sympathiser to the White House. And now France is on the same track. François Fillon’s victory over Alain Juppé in the presidential primary of the centre-right Republican Party leaves an avowed friend of Mr Putin as the favorite to occupy the Élysée after next spring’s election. (Mr Fillon’s most serious rival, the nationalist Marine Le Pen, has a yet more marked Moscow tilt.)

Mr Fillon’s Russophilia is born of conviction rather than expediency, and he does not hide his views. During last week’s debate with Mr Juppé he compared the Russian annexation of Crimea to Kosovo’s declaration of independence from Serbia, an argument he could have lifted directly from the Kremlin. The expansion of NATO to Russia’s borders in the 1990s, he muses, was a provocation bound to generate blowback. Little wonder Mr Putin singled out the “upstanding” Mr Fillon for praise before the vote.


The Economist: Europe

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