“Putin’s visit to France aimed to lobby against the sanctions” - Political analyst EXCLUSIVE | Eurasia Diary - ednews.net

23 August, Friday

“Putin’s visit to France aimed to lobby against the sanctions” - Political analyst EXCLUSIVE

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Russian President Vladimir Putin visited Paris to meet with newly elected French President Emmanuel Macron on 29 May.  During the meeting in the Palace of Versailles, Macron and Putin discussed significant issues-such as cooperation between two countries, Syria and Ukraine.  Both leaders stated, they are ready to work together to prevent conflict in Syria and Ukraine.  Macron also accused Kremlin sponsored media of spreading fake news against his candidacy during presidential election.  On this occasion, Eurasia Diary interviewed Rahim Rahimov, political analyst on Russian and Post Soviet studies regarding the results of Macron-Putin meeting. 
Eurasia Diary: Newly elected French President Emmanuel Macron and Russian President Vladimir Putin met at the palace of Versailles. Some considerable issues were discussed between the two leaders that are related to relations between two countries,  the eradication of terror organization in Syria, new talks on Ukraine.  From your opinion does Macron have such plan to come together with Putin in order to prevent war and regulate situation in Syria and Ukraine?
Rahim Rahimov: First of all, this meeting was originally scheduled to be held between Macron’s predecessor François Hollande and Russian President Vladimir Putin in October, 2016.  Putin cancelled his trip in objection to Hollande, who accused Russia of war crimes over bombardment of Aleppo. So, Putin’s France visit had been planned much earlier and it is not about whether Macron has got such a plan or not. There are fundamental differences between the French and Russian positions over the conflicts in Syria and Ukraine. This meeting alone is not in a position to overcome those differences. In fact, the meeting showcased those differences once again. Macron described talks with Putin as frank exchange. To put it differently, they agreed to disagree over the Syrian and Ukrainian conflicts.
Eurasia Diary: Putin’s meeting with Macron coincides with 300th anniversary of Tsar Peter the Great’s visit to Versailles. How do you think, what is the important impact of Putin’s recent visit to France for Russian diplomacy? 
Rahim Rahimov: As I have just mentioned the meeting of Russian and French presidents that had been planned for October, 2016. So, the coincidence of the meeting with the 300th anniversary of Tsar Peter the Great’s Versailles visit is just accidental.The major objective that Putin sought through this meeting is to dissuade the French president from maintaining the international sanctions against Russia and to lobby against the sanctions. It appears that this objective was not achieved. Instead, Macron took an opportunity to make defiant messages against the Russian propaganda and in defense of liberal democratic values including gay rights in Russia’s Chechnya. This shows that Macron in pair with German Chancellor Angel Merkel are determined to provide a leadership to the western world in absence of strong US leadership under Donald Trump. This also means that the sanctions against Russia will last longer. So, diplomatically Moscow has found itself in an awkward position. One reason for that is, the Russian diplomacy has followed, not led the military actions in the Syrian and Ukrainian conflicts.
Eurasia Diary: President Macron criticized two Russian media outlet, because of spreading fake news against his campaign during presidential election.  What is your opinion concerning the role of Russian media in political processes in Europe?
Rahim Rahimov: The Russian media has sought to influence the political processes in Europe. However, the role of the Russian media in Europe is often exaggerated. Interestingly, the Kremlin benefits from such exaggeration because it creates a powerful image of Moscow domestically and internationally in particular in the post-soviet countries. Such powerful image is helpful for Moscow’s efforts to avert the post-soviet countries from seeking closer ties with the European Union. Allegations about the Russian role in the US presidential campaign had been an encouragement for the Russian media. Despite that, Macron’s defeat of the Kremlin-favoured Marine Le Pen has downplayed the role of the Russian media. 

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