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May 9, 2017 No.
6913

Russian Reactions To Macron's Victory In The French Presidential Elections

Russian reactions to Emmanuel Macron's victory in the second round of the French Presidential elections.on May 7, 2017 varied. Some dismissed Macron as a submissive servant of Merkel's Germany or a continuation of the failed Hollande presidency. Others believed that he would be too preoccupied with internal and EU matters to prioritize relations with Russia. Another approach recommended a wait and see attitude that discounted Macron's contradictory campaign statements as calculated to appeal to various segments of the French electorate.

A sampling of Russian reactions follows below:

Macron
French President Emmanuel Macron (Source: Sputnik.com)

Pushkov's Tweet Storm

Senator Alexey Pushkov (@Alexey_Pushkov) tweeted: "Anyway, a woman won the French presidential elections. Her name is Angela Merkel. The only thing left for her to do is to prevail in her own country's elections."

(Twitter.com/Alexey_Pushkov, May 7, 2017)


(Source: Twitter.com/Alexey_Pushkov, May 7, 2017)

Pushkov also tweeted: "Clinton, Obama, Merkel, Poroshenko, Johnson are all delighted by Macron's victory. No need to continue the list – it's obvious. Tell me who your friends are…"

(Twitter.com/Alexey_Pushkov, May 7, 2017)

(Source: Twitter.com/Alexey_Pushkov, May 7, 2017)

Pushkov tweeted once more: "For the first time the French elections became a referendum on the attitude towards the EU. EU supporters won. But more than one third of the Frenchmen are against. It never happened in France before."

(Twitter.com/Alexey_Pushkov, May 7, 2017)


(Source: Twitter.com/Alexey_Pushkov, May 7, 2017)

Putin Congratulates Macron On Winning The Elections

Russian President Vladimir Putin sent a message of congratulations to Emmanuel Macron on his election as President of France. Putin's message read: "The people of France have elected you to the highest office in your country in challenging times for Europe and the international community in general. The growing threat of terrorism and violent extremism goes hand in hand with the escalation of local conflicts and the destabilization of entire regions. Against this backdrop, overcoming mutual distrust and joining efforts to ensure international stability and security is especially important." The also Kremlin's statement stressed that Putin reaffirmed his readiness to work together on topical matters.

(Kremlin.ru, May 8, 2017)

Valdai Club Expert: 'I Do Not Think The President Of France Will Make Significant Changes In Relations With Russia'

The Foundation for the Development and Support of the Valdai Discussion Club's board chairman, Andrey Bystritskiy, said: "I think no fundamental changes will take place after the election of Emmanuel Macron. He will focus on real politics and will look for solutions of issues that are significant for the EU now. The acuteness of current elections in France is not related to Macron as such but to the fact that the situation is very challenging. Lots of problems accumulated and these are real problems related to migration, economic development and attitude towards the EU... There were a lot of talks at the time that Donald Trump would win elections in the U.S. and everything will change instantly. However, nothing changes overnight. The same will be in the situation with Macron: earlier policy will be continued."

(Tass.com, May 8, 2017)

The same foundation's program director, Timofei Bordachev, said: "I do not think the President of France will make significant changes in relations with Russia because his main task will be to strengthen the position of France inside the European Union and in relations with France. This will be paramount for him. It will be much easier to sacrifice relations with Russia because France will hardly be able to lose anything: relations were highly degraded recently and therefore Russia will hardly be a priority for the new president... President Macron should make highly important and urgent decisions related to the economic situation in the country. We are at a point of high uncertainty regarding developments in France in coming years. A large-scale crisis is possible in five years."

(Tass.com, May 8, 2017)

Senator Dzhabarov: Relations With Russia Will Go On Developing Despite Macron's Threatening Statements

Senator Vladimir Dzhabarov, the first deputy chairman of the Russian Federation Council's International Committee, said: "It is a predictable victory. The French had practically no choice as the strongest candidate, Francois Fillon, was knocked out of the race by a wave of smear campaigning." Commenting on Russian-French relations, Dzhabarov said: "Relations will go on developing despite Macron's threatening statements with respect to Russia."

(Tass.com, May 8, 2017)

Pro-Kremlin Media Outlet Vzgliad: 'By Election Macron, France Will Commit To Its Subordination To Germany'

Before the second round of the French presidential elections, pro-Kremlin media outlet Vzgliad wrote: "By electing Macron, France will condemn itself to subordination by Germany and submissive adherence to Germany's course within the EU. The liberal economic policy, based on cheap imported labor power and reduced salaries for local residents, will accelerate its pace. The senseless confrontation with Russia will keep intensifying. The problems of Islamism and terrorism will continue to aggravate. While not a fellow party member of Hollande's, Macron is his de facto successor and will do everything to continue the course of his patron, the most unpopular president of the Fifth Republic."

(Vz.ru, April 24, 2017)

Russian Researcher: 'It Will Be Interesting To See How Much Of The French Democratic Messianism, [Macron] Will Keep'

Before the elections, the Russian media outlet Argumenti I Fakti published an interview with Pavel Timofeev, a research fellow at the Department of European Political Studies at the Moscow-based Institute IMEMO. Commenting on Macron, Timofeev said: "We have heard Macron making extremely contradictory statements. He is talking about being an ally of the U.S., while simultaneously he keeps criticizing Trump. On the one hand, he says that he will make Vladimir Putin respect France, on the other hand, he admits that Russia is a great power whose opinion must be heard. We can assume that until now he has just been targeting different groups of voters, and it is not clear how he is going to behave in any specific situation.

"We can expect that, being a pragmatic person, he will try to establish relationships with all sides, keeping in mind the needs of French business. It will be interesting to see how much French democratic messianism he will retain. Because of this messianism, Hollande decided to tear up the contract to supply Russia with 'Mistrals' that was quite profitable to France. Hollande meant to show that the values of 'advanced democracy' trump financial losses. I believe Macron will be less dogmatic. We can draw this conclusion from his successful visit to Moscow as a minister that led to the signing of several agreements."

(Aif.ru, April 23, 2017)

Professor At MGIMO University: French Parliamentary Elections Will Start Now

MGIMO University Professor Evgeniya Obichkina said: "Le Pen wants to dilute its National Front party with a bad legacy in a major patriotic movement. Certainly, this is an interesting stake for the future, for parliamentary elections... [June] Parliamentary elections will start now and struggle will be very serious because Macron is not backed by a party with serious organization; he will have to think about nominations in the list. The challenge is that he promised new persons and talents."

(Tass.com, May 8, 2017)

Appendix I

Russia's Reactions To Upcoming Second Round Of French Presidential Elections

The following is an overview of Russia's reactions to the results of the first round of voting in the French presidential elections, and to the two candidates who advanced to the second round – the pro-Europe and centrist En Marche! Leader, Emmanuel Macron, and the Euro-skeptic leader of the far-right National Front, Marine Le Pen. The second round of the election is set for May 7, 2017.

See MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 6902, Russia's Reactions To Upcoming Second Round Of French Presidential Elections, May 1, 2017.

French Elections Seen From Russia

The first round of the French presidential elections will take place on April 23, 2017, with far-right National Front leader Marine Le Pen, leader of the new liberal political movement "En Marche!" Emmanuel Macron, far-left politician and leader of "France Insoumise" coalition Jean-Luc Mélenchon and center-right Republican candidate Francois Fillon in the running to become the France's next president.

See MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 6886, French Elections Seen From Russia, April 21, 2017.

Marine Le Pen's Visit To Russia Is 'A Sober And Calculated Move By An Experienced And Talented Politician

On March 24, 2017, one month before the first round of the French presidential elections (April 23), the leader of the populist party Front National, Marine Le Pen, visited Russia, at the invitation of the State Duma. During her visit, Le Pen had a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Journalist Irina Alksnis published an article in the Russian pro-Kremlin media outlet Vz.ru, titled "Marine Le Pen Goes All In," commenting on the French politician's visit to Russia. According to Alksnis, Le Pen's visit to Russia only a month before the presidential election is not a "stupid" whim or an idealist's rashness; it is a calculated move by an experienced and talented politician. In the situation of an almost guaranteed defeat, there is no point trying to gain more votes from the left. The journalist commented that the determination and commitment to principles demonstrated by the French leader may play into her hands later.

See MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 6886, French Elections - Marine Le Pen's Visit To Russia Is 'A Sober And Calculated Move By An Experienced And Talented Politician', April 4, 2017.

The Moscow Times: Russia Launches Operation 'Anyone But Macron'

According to the Moscow Times, with the approach of the French presidential election, Russia is launching operation "Anyone but Macron." After Republican Party candidate Francois Fillon's campaign became embroiled in scandal, the young social liberal candidate Emmanuel Macron, running under the banner of a new pro-European movement – En Marche!, could make it to the second round on May 7, 2017. Former minister of economy Macron is the only French presidential candidate, who talked about the crackdown on human rights in Russia. And "this makes him an adversary for Moscow," wrote the Moscow Times, quoting Russian political scientist Vladimir Frolov. For this reason, according to the paper, Russia still hopes that Fillon, "a man with personal ties to Putin who has called for sanctions to be lifted", will make it to the first round, set for April 23, 2017. "In order to do so, [Russia] wants to sabotage Macron's chances," wrote the Moscow-based media outlet.

See MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 6780, French Elections - The Moscow Times: Russia Launches Operation 'Anyone But Macron', February 13, 2017.

Russian National Security Council Consultant: The Rothschilds Are Behind French Presidential Candidate Macron

Dr. Yuri Kosov, a scientific consultant for the Russian National Security Council, hinted that the Rothschilds were "managing and directing" the French elections by standing behind presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron and trying to eliminate his political rivals François Fillon and Marine Le Pen. His statements were posted on the Internet TV channel of the "Russian People's Line" on February 24, 2017.

See MEMRI TV Clip No. 5918, Russian National Security Council Consultant: The Rothschilds Are Behind French Presidential Candidate Macron, February 23, 2017.