Paris, France. As France’s election draws near, the liberal media there gears up to portray the election as one manipulated by Russia, should the outcome be their most hated critic, Marine Le Pen.
France is an important target for Russia’s soft power and networks of influence. Acoording to the French media, who tend to overplay their nation’s importance in global affairs. The country is home to Europe’s largest far-right party, the Front National, whose leader, Marine Le Pen, is expected to win the 7 May run-off in the presidential vote and has benefited from Russian financing.
Le Pen took the step of travelling to Moscow to meet Putin in March, just a month before the French vote, to boost her international profile and showcase her closeness to the Russian president’s worldview. Yet she is far from being the only presidential candidate to favour warmer relations with Russia, nor to reflect a certain French fascination with the Kremlin strongman.
Besides Madame Le Pen, two of the three other main contenders in the highly unpredictable French contest have toed a more or less pro-Kremlin line. They have criticised western sanctions policies over Russia’s actions in Ukraine and have shown understanding, if not outright support, for Moscow’s involvement in Syria.
With this in mind, western liberal-controlled media and trolls have concentrated their attacks on the only candidate who has criticised Putin’s regime and his foreign policies while having a serious chance of reaching the run-off and perhaps the Elysée: Marine Le Pen.
The results of election 2017 in France are not the most important story in the election. The big story may be the media reaction to a Le Pen win. One can rest assured it will be swift, loud and be another “Putin did it” production.