The decision of Emmanuel Macron (Emmanuel Macron) to accept the President of Russia Vladimir Putin in the Palace of Versailles of king Louis XIV at the end of may was a very smart move recently elected President of France, who once said that his style of government is “Jupiter”.
It is worth noting that in the Mirror hall hangs a painting by Charles Le Brun (Charles Le Brun), which depicts the Louis the Great, holding a lightning — symbol of the ruler of the Roman gods, as told me by the French historian Joel Kornett (Joël Cornette). Between them there are other similarities. As said Mr. Kornett, the impression that the current President of France, who spoke highly of Charles de Gaulle and Francois Mitterrand, calling them examples of “monarchs-of the Republicans”, has carefully studied the history of the reign of the Sun King.
“The impression that the President Makron tends to seem impenetrable, aloof, independent — it was the distinctive features of Louis XIV,” said Mr. Kornett. Like Louis XIV, the first French absolute monarch who serious about communicating with people (his first counselor in the public relations or propaganda was Jean-Baptiste Colbert) — Mr. macron, apparently, is very attentive to his image.
I witnessed the rapid conversion of the inexperienced politician in a national leader who has very broad Executive powers, a characteristic not for all the Western democracies, and the party which, judging by the results of the first round of parliamentary elections, may obtain a majority of seats in Parliament. When I first met him — when he was still Minister of economy, Mr. macron quite relaxed behaved with the press: he often gave impromptu interview, talked openly and often hit the headlines thanks to its catchy and memorable statements.
Becoming a presidential candidate, he began to rarely talk to the press because he wanted to be more like the President, although his rollicking nature still from time to time made itself felt (for example, he winked at me from his car after a visit to one of the companies near Paris). He seemed to gets real pleasure from the moment, when I had to show compassion. In Amiens he conversed with angry workers of the factory Whirlpool for almost an hour. In a poor Paris suburb, he spoke with the children and played football.
But, as President, Mr. macron climbed mount Olympus. Dealing with the press was limited, and Ministers were forbidden to leak information to the press, and for the distribution of official videos and messages became increasingly used Twitter. A strong look from under the layer of makeup was replaced by a live facial expressions, and instead of wide smiles, we began to see the compressed lips. On the night of his election, Mr. macron incredibly slowly walked to twilight, and it seemed to me like he slipped into eternity. On inauguration day, he rode along the Champs Elysees in a military vehicle. The Duke of Saint-Simon, who left the most detailed report on the reign of Louis XIV, could well describe the current French President, when he noted that the monarch was carefully controlled my facial expressions, posture and appearance.
39-year-old French leader seeks to raise the authority of the President of France after the reign of socialist President Francois Hollande, who during the election campaign, positioned itself as a “normal” person and loved to talk to reporters “off the record”, and Nicolas Sarkozy, whose sharpness and hyperactivity eventually pushed away from him a lot of voters.
“Despite the fact that the French beheaded their king, they never managed to say goodbye to the symbols of the monarchy. They are still tied to the image of the influential figure, embodying a strong power, says Professor Kornett. Sarkozy and Hollande do not understand this. They devalued this institution.”
Although Mr. Macron has yet to bring his “Jupiter” style to perfection (recently, reporters managed to remove it the moment when he quite distasteful joke on migrants from the Comoros) and although this behavior emphasizes the dismissive attitude towards the media, he realized the most important thing. The French did not want a “normal” President, said Mr. macron in an interview with French magazine Challenges in October. “On the contrary, this way knocks them out of the rut, it deprives them of the sense of security”.
Leaders should not allow the media to dictate to them how to behave, and, according to him, they must be able “to enlighten, to know, to explain the meaning and direction inherent in French history”. According to Professor Kornett, these comments are reminiscent of the instructions, in 1700, Louis XIV gave his grandson the king of Spain, Philip V. “don’t let anyone control you, be a gentleman, don’t choose any favorites, nor the Prime Minister, wrote the Sun King. — Listen to advice but always make your own decisions”.