Who is a “real candidate” of the Kremlin?

The candidate for the post of the President of France, former Prime Minister Francois Fillon has made a number of statements, quite unpleasant for our country. This happened after his meeting in Berlin with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who made an exception, having among the French candidates for the position of head of state representative of the political force which, like the CDU, is part of the “European popular party” in the European Parliament.

Fillon, in particular, stated that the EU has made “many mistakes” in relations with Russia, particularly in Libya, Kosovo and economic relations. According to him, economic sanctions against Russia are completely ineffective, and Brussels needs to find another way to talk with Moscow. However, he explained how it could be a way to force Russia to rejoin the international field, to stop the aggression in the Donbass and the return of illegally annexed Crimea.

But perhaps most do, the big surprise was his words about the irresponsible proposal of those countries that want Ukraine and Georgia becoming members of NATO. While Fillon insisted that Ukraine and Georgia should not join neither the EU nor to NATO. And also strange to hear a French politician from the accusation that it was Kiev, not Moscow, is blocking the implementation of the Minsk agreements.

“He never spoke in defense of human rights, democratic values, fundamental freedoms,”

Nicolas Tenzer, Director of the Paris Center for the study and interpretation of political decisions (CERAP):

— During the meeting with Merkel, Fillon tried to soften his position. But mostly she remains such as was. As you know, Fillon fully perceives Putin’s position on Ukraine and Crimea, which is part of Ukraine, and also regarding Syria.

His and Putin’s main goal is to lift the sanctions for Russia for its aggression against Ukraine. And that is what recently Fillon and acts. He also understands that on the one hand, Merkel is strongly favoured the retention of sanctions, and the other, her party is in a coalition with the SDP, which occupies a similar position with him on sanctions.

And vision visit to Europe, the common defense, the adaptation of Europe to Trump completely unrealistic. It actually offers freedom of action trump and Putin who want to disband NATO. But this is very disturbing.

It is known that Fillon has very close ties with Putin and is his personal friend. Many of his advisors are Pro-Putin.

— Why Fillon does not adhere to European principles, protecting Ukrainians who perished on the Maidan?

— You need to remember what position Fillon in the past about Europe. And he is a eurosceptic. In 1992 Fillon opposed the Maastricht Treaty and against the European Constitution in 2005. He also does not accept the idea of a strong and powerful Europe. During his campaign for the party elections of the candidate from the Republican party of ex-Prime Minister said that France may have to withdraw from the European Convention on human rights. So it is clear that Fillon is not Pro-European politician.

If we consider his position on other issues, he never played in the protection of human rights, democratic values, fundamental freedoms. Fillon also criticized Merkel on the resolution of the refugee crisis. This means that Europe is not his priority. And rather, it is a populist, though not going as far as marine Le Pen. But I can’t say that Fillon — a true European European European thinker or a Democrat. And I must say that his vision of society, Europe is absolutely not liberal.

In fact, the true candidate of the Kremlin, rather, is Fillon than Le Pen. The National front leader is more radical for the Putin figure. And he well knows that if Le Pen is elected, something between her and the other leaders will be created something like a wall. But with Fillon everyone will say because it is not an extreme right. I think his influence on the formation of the new Europe will be more and it would be better to serve the interests of Putin than marine Le Pen as President.

— Can affect the chances of Fillon scandal surrounding his wife, who for many years under the instruction of the husband received a salary from the parliamentary Fund? Reporters also dug that she received 5 thousand Euro a month in the journal La Revue des Deux Mondes, which belongs to each Fillon.

In France, as in many other countries, there are many scandals during election campaigns. But I’m not quite sure what these scandals actually affect the voting of the French. In the past, many politicians have been convicted on corruption charges. But a few years later, they are still elected. So I don’t think you mentioned the scandal will have an impact. Many supporters would see this as an attack on Mr Fillon, on the part of his opponents.

— What Ukraine needs to do to bring Fillon, and in General the French public that Russia is the aggressor, the occupier, which is in violation of international norms by force took away part of Ukraine and continues its aggression in the Donbas?

It is a very difficult question. I and many intellectuals in France every day want in a talk show interview to talk about the situation in Ukraine. But mostly the public is not quite aware of this fact, does not know where the Ukraine. And she is not paying attention to what’s going on here. Usual the French do not know that in Ukraine killed more than 10 thousand employees and almost 2 million have become refugees. The French are not interested in the situation in Ukraine, perhaps they know more about the situation in Syria and the crimes committed there, Bashar al-Assad, Russia and Iran.

“His program discourages many voters”

Tatiana Kastueva-Jean, head of the Center for Russia/NIS in the French Institute of international relations:

Said Fillon against Ukraine (no promises on membership in NATO or the EU) is not surprising: he openly expresses a very widespread view, especially among right-wing, which is due to the enlargement fatigue of the EU, the priority of other strategic crises, the reluctance to deepen the crisis with Russia and mistrust towards the future development of Ukraine, which is seen as a country that failed to use the events of the Maidan to completely reformat their political system. The same forces that are close to French firms believe that the sanctions have not forced Russia to change their political behavior, but has crippled the economy of their own country, in particular agriculture because of Russia’s retaliatory measures. What is much more surprising that the statements with respect to Germany and Merkel. The Franco-German tandem the war is almost a “sacred cow”, the pledge of peace and stability in the EU, which did not attempt neither right nor left. This rhetoric Fillon should be monitored very carefully. As for the scandal with his wife visit while all this is unconfirmed facts. I think that this is not the main factor that will play a fatal role, in any case, if it stays unconfirmed rumor. More importantly, his program, a mix of radical economic liberalism and social conservatism that scares off many voters, in particular, the entire left flank. So its victory is not inscribed in the history of electoral 2017.