Russia is not in the habit of intervening in the internal affairs of other countries, including the election processes underway in France, Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, when asked about the Russian president’s opinion of one of the potential candidates for the French presidency.

 

Counting ballots

 

“Moscow invariably regards election processes in all other countries with respect and it prefers to stay away from them at a proper distance. The same applies to France,” Peskov said.

 

He acknowledged that “certainly there are candidates our president had a chance to communicate with more tightly in the previous years, and there are candidates he met more rarely and is less familiar with.”

 

Peskov said Putin’s remarks about one of the likely candidates, Francois Fillon, should not be regarded as a token of support.

 

“If you listened to Putin’s statement attentively enough… you must have taken note of the fact that it was not his initiative. He was asking a question put to him, because that theme is of interest to the mass media,” Peskov said about Putin’s recent meeting with journalists.

 

“He expressed no preferences in his statement,” Peskov said.

 

He pointed out once again that Moscow proceeded from the principle of non-intervention in the internal affairs of other countries and by tradition respected the electoral preferences of other countries.