Putin tells Le Pen that Russian Federation 'doesn't want to influence' French election

Posted March 25, 2017

French far-right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen said Friday "it's now the world of [Vladimir] Putin, the world of Donald Trump", after meeting with the Russian president in Moscow, a reporter for the Guardian said on Twitter.

Addressing reporters in a Moscow hotel, she also said she did not discuss financial support for her party with Putin and that the aim of her Russian Federation visit was not to boost her electoral chances.

Putin's meeting with Le Pen came amid rising controversy over whether Russia tried to influence the US presidential election by hacking computer accounts of the Democratic National Committee, and over meetings between members of President Donald Trump's inner circle and the Russian ambassador.

"I am in favour of developing relations with Russian Federation in the context of the long history that links our two countries", she said at the start of her meeting with Mr Volodin. Since 2011, Le Pen has visited Russian Federation four times, including one visit to the annexed region of Crimea. Russian Federation and France should unite to fight global terrorism, she added.

Embracing Le Pen is part of Russia's efforts to reach out to nationalist and anti-globalist forces to build up its influence in the West and help overcome the strains in relations with the US and the European Union.

Money aside, Le Pen is also receiving support from Russia's foreign propaganda machine.

"Of course I know that the election campaign in France is actively developing", said Putin.

The two met in the Kremlin on Friday and "were on the same wavelength", according to one of Ms Le Pen's aides, Ludovic de Danne.

She said that she had her "own viewpoint on Ukraine, [which is] identical to Russia's".

Polls suggest Le Pen is running neck-and-neck with independent centrist Emmanuel Macron at about 25 percent.

Dmitry Kiselyov, the anchor of the main weekly news program on Russian state TV, has echoed that theme, saying that the French judiciary was working "as swiftly as a guillotine during the bloody French Revolution" to undermine Fillon and Le Pen.

If two-thirds of those undecided voters go to Le Pen, Vedral said, she gets awfully close to winning.

Amid the ongoing investigations into alleged Russian interference in last year's United States election, fears about potential Russian influence have been raised ahead of the upcoming votes in France and other European countries. "A trip to visit the troops...is a traditional thing to build up your commander-in-chief cred", said Martin Michelot, a French election expert at Europeum Research Institute.