Vladimir Fedorov: “French public opinion is the most Russophile in Europe”

A former diplomat who worked in Mauritania and Paris, Vladimir Fedorov was also the translator of Leonid Brezhnev during talks with Arab leaders such as Saddam Hussein or Colonel Gaddafi. In 90-e years, speaking out against the hard line of the Communist party of the Soviet Union and the KGB, he became the official representative of the movement in favour of democratic reforms during a confrontation between the August coup in 1991. The other being the ideologist of perestroika, Alexander Yakovlev, he is moving away from government circles, moves to France and publishes dozens of books about the history of Russia and the Soviet Union.

In his latest book “Putin” (published by Stock) are shown the political, cultural and psychological portrait of the Russian President. Fedorov explains why Putin is a reflection of their country. His image and popularity among compatriots opposed to the opinion formed of him in the West. This Monday, may 29, Vladimir Putin will go to France to open the exhibition devoted to Peter the Great, as well as meet with the new President of the country. Diplomatic relations between Russia and France was almost at a standstill after the scandal with the supply of “Mistral”. The diplomat and writer Fedorov believes that the Russian President’s visit is a very positive signal…


Le Point.fr: What is the purpose of Putin’s visit to France?

Vladimir Fedorov: He arrives at the opening of the exhibition dedicated to the journey of Peter the Great in Paris and its suburbs in 1717. The exhibition will open in the “Grand Trianon”. However, the trip of the Russian President can be called political and diplomatic. Vladimir Putin also plans to open a new page in bilateral relations, covering five terrible years of relationship with France under the leadership of françois Hollande. Non-contract for the supply of two ships “Mistral” had a great impact. Russia no longer wanted to do business with France, and relations between former French President and Vladimir Putin became cold. This has gone too far! No consistency, a continuous worsening of relations! What concerns caused the cancellation of the Russian President’s visit to Paris when he was supposed to open a Russian cultural centre and Orthodox Church!

— What has changed?

French public opinion — the Russophile in Europe, so it sought the resumption of relations with Putin. During the presidential campaign of Jean-Luc Mélenchon, marine Le Pen, françois Fillon did not hide his good relations with the Russian President. And no one was convicted. It should also add to this the fact that Putin had to come out of his isolation. Emmanuel macron held out his hand: it’s very subtle on his part.

— It was believed that the natural ally of the Russian government will become the Donald trump…

— The reign of Obama has exposed the complexity between the two superpowers, and trump was represented as an agent of Putin. But we clearly see that things are not so simple. The US President does not want to ease the regime of sanctions that hit Russia, he threw bombs military bases of the Kremlin’s ally Bashar al-Assad. However, the alleged family ties trump and his advisers make suspicious any attempt is indicative of a rapprochement between the two countries. A heart understanding between Moscow and Washington is broken. That is why Vladimir Putin sees the Macron Emanuele heir of De Gaulle and Mitterrand: both have been very active in the East. He believes that the macron is again to engage in real politics, and history and geography will reassert its relevance.

— Putin is ready to make concessions, to restore the confidence of France?

— Concessions Putin does not like. Instead, he seeks to restore the balance of interests. He is torn between the two strategies. His entourage podtalkivaet him to break with Europe and to strengthen relations with China. However, the younger part of his entourage expresses a more moderate position and proposes to maintain friendly and equal relations with China and Europe. His point of view expresses another direction: here believe that Europe is exposed to Islamic influence, because it forgets its history and traditions, and that strengthens the position of Islam. Putin does not agree and continues to rely on the old continent. In this regard, he was very attentive to the appointment to the post of Minister of foreign Affairs of France Jean-Yves Le Drian (Jean-Yves Le Drian), which has a lot of respect.

— What is the position of the Kremlin against radical Islam?

— Priority is the fight against Islamism. Moscow believes that world war I began.

— What are the points of contact between Paris and Moscow?

— Against Iran and North Korea, Russian and French positions are very close. And very different from the position of Washington. The rest will depend on the personal relationships that will develop the leaders of the two States. Putin came to power at a very young age, turning all the rules. He sees the Makron himself. Unlike Hollande, he said: “People who can’t deal with their women, can not govern France.” The voluntarism of the Makron interested in them, and the organization of bilateral meetings in the Palace of Versailles is a very positive signal.