Is Russia Funding ‘France’s Trump’ Marine Le Pen’s Presidential Campaign?

French far-right politician Marine Le Pen is looking for fresh source of funding as she is running for president. Her party took a loan worth nine million Euro in 2014 from a Moscow-based bank. On Friday, Russian President Vladimir Putin had a meeting with her in Kremlin.

According to opinion polls, Le Pen is a strong contender for the top post in France. At the moment, she is at the number two position to win the French presidential election, which is going to take place on May 7. She is giving close competition to centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron. At this moment, Putin’s meeting with Le Pen seems to be a significant move.

The French politician has said that she is an admirer of the Russian president. She is against imposing sanctions on Russia over Kremlin’s role in the Ukraine conflict. She wants the European Union to lift Russia’s economic sanctions.

Marine Le Pen is looking for fresh source of funding as she is running for president.
Marine Le Pen is looking for fresh source of funding as she is running for president. [Image by Mikhail Klimentyev, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo/AP Images]

Putin clarified why he was meeting Le Pen in a brief introduction. According to him, Russia gives a lot of importance to its relation with French authorities. However, at the same time, Kremlin prefers maintaining a strong relation with the members of the opposition as well. The Russian president said he was aware of Le Pen’s active presidential campaign. He said, even though Russia had no intention to influence the presidential campaign by any means, it also has the right to meet people like Le Pen.

“We reserve the right to talk to representatives of all the country’s political forces, just as our partners in Europe and the United States do.”

Here are a few things about the French politician. CBS News earlier wondered if she should be called “France’s Trump.” There is a striking resemblance between U.S. President Donald Trump and Le Pen. Both represent right-wing populist politics. Both of them are strongly against free trade, want Russia as its ally and have strong opinions about immigration. Both of them question NATO’s role.

However, there is a lot of difference between the two as well. While Donald Trump had no political background, Le Pen has a long history of politics. Her father Jean-Marie Le Pen, who is known for his anti-Semitic and racist rhetoric, ran for president five times. Le Pen said her teachers used to target her in her childhood to express their hatred for her father. She had become tough to counter all the negativity around her.

Russia says it gives a lot of importance to its relation with French authorities.
Russia says it gives a lot of importance to its relation with French authorities. [Image by AP Images]

Le Pen talked to reporters after her meeting with Putin. She clarified that she was not in Russia to boost her chances in the French presidential election. According to Reuters, no matter what Le Pen’s reasons are, her supporters in France must be quite pleased with her meeting with the Russian president. Many of her core supporters admire the Russian president’s stance on various moral and social issues.

Reuters also indicated that the meeting reveals that, despite the controversy of Russia’s alleged involvement in the U.S. presidential election, Putin is “not shying away from actions that could influence foreign elections.”

Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov talked to reporters about the meeting between Putin and the French politician. According to him, Le Pen did not discuss the possibility of Russia’s financial help for her presidential election.

[Featured Image by Anna Isakova/Photo service of the State Duma Pool Photo/AP images]

Comments