Marine Le Pen on the streets of her Hénin-Beaumont stronghold in the Pas-de-Calais for the city’s sell-out on September 11, 2022. CYRIL BITTON FOR THE WORLD
Can the Russian question, bypassed during the presidential campaign thanks to lightning rod Eric Zemmour, disrupt Marine Le Pen’s political return? For the past six months, the National Rally (RN) has been walking a tightrope by clearly condemning the invasion of Ukraine, but picking up some language elements from the Kremlin. But the wind is blowing strong. Ukraine’s military advance and Russian might’s panic demonstrations are ringing in the ears of European and American leaders as the first concrete effects of military support and the wide array of sanctions being imposed on Russia’s economy.
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With the return of the war in Ukraine to public debate – a discussion on this issue will open the session of the National Assembly on Monday, October 3 – the Putinophilia trials against the RN are returning. “What tacit pact or financial arrangement could lead to such statements? ‘ Renaissance Secretary General Stéphane Séjourné pretends to be surprised when Jordan Bardella puts the energy crisis on the back of European sanctions.
Signs of irritation from RN officials are mounting. Ms Le Pen accused France Inter of “disinformation” to journalists on September 20, recalling that she had opposed the sanctions until August. She says today that she only aimed at “energy sanctions”. On September 29, Mr. Bardella, interim president, announced his intention to “prosecute anyone who alleges the existence of a financial link between Russia and his party.”
The EU’s “dangerous bellicose stances”.
However, the most Russophile of elected officials, such as Thierry Mariani, were not silenced. In Cap d’Agde, during the movement’s parliamentary days, deputies mocked some journalists for their “naivety in the face of information warfare,” saw the mass graves discovered in Izioum as mere cemeteries, and predicted the same fate for the Ukrainian military as the Ludendorff offensive: a futile one Series of German attacks on the western front in spring 1918, before Allied victory.
MEP Thierry Mariani debates with his colleague Philippe Olivier and Marie-Caroline Le Pen, regional councilor for Ile-de-France, during the party’s parliamentary days in Cap d’Agde (Hérault), September 11, 2022. CYRIL BITTON FOR THE WORLD ”
On the matter, Ms Le Pen is sticking to her positions, denouncing both Vladimir Putin’s actions and the European Union’s “imperial vision” and “dangerous bellicose stances”. In her opinion, the economic sanctions have hurt the French more than Russia, in particular because they would have greatly increased the price of hydrocarbons; and the supply of arms places France in a “combatant” situation. The RN also views the training of Ukrainian troops as an act of belligerence.
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