Francois Fillon and his friend Putin

Francois Fillon and his friend Putin

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French politicians of all he knows best Putin. And appreciate it more than others. Francois Fillon had always had an interest in Russia. Especially after it became friendly with the president.

May 7, 2012. The morning after the defeat. In this day the phone does not ring almost. But the outgoing (though so still not completely gone) French Prime Minister received a call from … Vladimir Putin. Despite having walked in full swing process taking office, elected two months earlier for a third term Russian president still found time to call: “How are you now are you?”

At that moment, Francois Fillon, has not spoken to anyone about his plans. But he could not rely on the ability of the former KGB agent to keep a secret. Putin was one of the first who learned that he was preparing for a new fight. “I will lead the party,” – he said. Only such a trust-worthy friend?

“We’re not friends”, – assured Francois Fillon L’Express. I would like to believe. Even so, the former prime minister established a close relationship with someone who for four years was his Russian counterpart. Though, perhaps, it is due to circumstances which arose agreement that directs primarily personal ambitions. Someone who is aiming for the highest step of the government, sympathy sixth of the land is clearly not hurt.

In November 2009, they met in the palace at Rambouillet. Vladimir Francois told how in his country can be president, then prime minister, and finally again president. “In France, a bit more complicated!” – Joked Fillon.

While working in the Matignon had to settle for second plan diplomacy that awaits premieres. But he managed to climb up on those places which left empty Nicolas Sarkozy because of employment or neglect. Communicate with Putin was the easier their dance with the head of the French state went not the best way, especially at the beginning of the mandate.

“I never shake his hand” – this was the fatwa candidate Sarkozy to win the election in 2007. In fact, these words have not been confirmed, but they still have left traces on which Francois Fillon was not trying to get rid of. “Since this has nothing to do” – said one of his close supporters. During his term, Nicolas Sarkozy (wrongly) made a bid to Dmitry Medvedev, arguing that it will take precedence over Putin uncomfortable. At a meeting of the Council of Ministers in 2011, he even happily noted his relative failure in the parliamentary elections.

Before Francois Fillon was not such a dilemma. In 2008 came the end of the second presidential mandate Putin, who became his colleague. In their conversations “you” quickly replaced the “you.” Putin became Fillon one of the main foreign partners: their meetings were held two or three times a year. Gradually these diplomatic conversations went beyond the framework established protocol. And moved, for example, a pool table, as it was in 2008 in Sochi residence.

Known story: Fillon rookie trying to impress a Russian politician … Nevertheless, few people are aware that at the moment the French Prime suffered from back pain due to sciatica. But he gritted his teeth and played. Miss this favorable moment was simply impossible. “It’s a real bulldog, but he has a kind and sensitive side,” – said Fillon.

Comparison would be farfetched. But as in the famous Russian nesting dolls, Putin may be hiding in other people. As in Fillon. In any case, both of them characterized by a love of extreme sports. With only one difference: Putin is willing to take any risk for the sake of successful picture, and does not change Fillon addiction to the “Formula 1” and alpine skiing.

In the spring of 2013, President Putin, who has never been shy manifestations location and flattery, invited Fillon your luxury cottage 10 kilometers from Moscow. Unprecedented honor for a simple Parisian deputies. Fillon lost chair, but not an ally. Over dinner he even invited to visit the built in Sochi “gorgeous” sports facilities.

In December 2010, Putin proposed Fillon repeat performance in the Bolshoi Theatre, on which the French delegation was not able to get because fly from Paris detained because of frosts. French Prime Minister did not abuse the good attitude and decided to leave the artists alone. In addition, Vladimir Putin attended to the smallest detail: when Francois Fillon lost his mother, he gave him a bottle of wine in 1931, the year of her birth.

Longstanding interest in Russia

Although interest Fillon to Russia flourished precisely in the Putin era, he appeared actually long before that. His first trip to the Soviet Union took place in 1986 when he was chairman of the National Assembly Commission on Defense. Two years ago, he again went there together with the Minister of Defence and a great connoisseur of the country Shevenmanom Jean-Pierre (Jean-Pierre Chevènement). Fillon was “impressed” by Mikhail Gorbachev and his political project restructuring. Later, in the chair Minister of Research, he made great efforts to expand bilateral contacts and in 1994 inaugurated (who, incidentally, is very proud of these) first joint venture to launch satellites.

Fillon feared talk of Russian influence and tried not to draw attention especially to the Russophile and Russian-speaking character of its surroundings, a rare trait for French political staff. Not the last role in it, by the way, plays Igor Mitrofanoff descendant emigrated to France “white”.

Former Secretary of State, an expert on Russian language and adviser to Jean de Matignon Boissier (Jean de Boishue) regularly wrote about the former empire, accompanied him on all trips and sometimes took on the duties of an interpreter. Philippe Seguin (Philippe Séguin), which has long been the right hand Fillon, did not hide his admiration for Russian culture and, in particular, Solzhenitsyn (in his opinion, that his books put an end to communism).

Fillon has consistently advocated the “Europe from the Atlantic to the Urals” and “historical association agreement,” even at a time when the EU is not a little angry at Moscow. “The Russian bear is dangerous only if scared,” – he wrote in August 2012 very hostile to Francois Hollande article. He did not agree with the arguments against Putin’s intervention in Syria, but did not call them “insignificant.”

He made the defense of Russia and especially its leader: “Instead of putting on a cold welcome Putin, the French government should be bold and try to build a trusting relationship with Russia!” Exclamation point looked threateningly: Putin was probably flattered.

Deliberate attention to Putin

A year later, Fillon took another step. At the forum “Valdai” in September 2013, he departed from the usual restraint in words and turned to France with an appeal to regain the “independence” in the Syrian crisis. Special indignation in Paris caused the word “expensive” Vladimir … Its almost raspnuli on the cross for a courtesy with an increasingly unpopular in the West (due to gaining momentum authoritarianism) Russian President.

“Such wording used by all leaders, Angela Merkel, Barack Obama!” – Tried to explain it. On the right flank of his competitors did not fail to seize the opportunity. “Alain Juppe (Alain Juppé) of kindness did not say that he had gone too far – said one close associate of the mayor of Bordeaux. – Fillon certainly could benefit from the situation to get closer to one of the giants, but whether he chose the theme and country? “

Is charismatic president, Russia was able to convince him (or hung him to deceive, as some would say)? According to Fillon, they always spoke openly and honestly. “Tell me, why do you keep the bastard Assad?” – Once asked Fillon. “Do you know who will take his place? I – no, and until I know not going to concede anything, “- said Putin.

Francois Fillon said that his fears of coming to power in Damascus radicals associated with primarily with the July trip to Lebanon. “I warned Putin, he considers himself the herald of the Christian West” – he said to his friend Senator from Vendee Retailleau Bruno (Bruno Retailleau).

“Like it or not we need to act”

Fillon knows Putin and trying not to fall under its influence, when the steps are too obvious. So, for dinner at Matignon in November 2009, Frederic Mitterrand (Frédéric Mitterrand, he described the scene in La Récréation), gave way to Putin. He took out a notebook and tried to convince Fillon conclude a business deal. Vain. “Decades of experience in agriculture Sart does not have to ensure that the exchange of degraded products on the Volga stake Renault», – told the then Minister of Culture.

The world’s problems are always raised genuine interest Fillon. Nevertheless, he took the word only after the commission of the National Assembly Foreign Affairs Committee to address the issue of Russia: only one hundredth meeting since the election!

December 18 last year, he willingly shared his opinion about Putin: “He is not one who is content with the usual relationship with the heads of government. We like it or not, you need to act, spend time on it. Conversation with him can not last less than three hours. And if it ends the agreement comply with her. “

Ie Putin – the man gentlemen’s agreements … Not like the ubiquitous painted image of the king. “I perfectly see his flaws, but from the point of view of democracy is still progress,” – said Fillon. European charges, according to him, the more inappropriate, that Russian democracy on its head “above China and our friends from the Persian Gulf.” Cause and effect?

During the five years in Matignon he stubbornly refused to accept the chairman of the parliamentary group of friendship between Russia and France Herve Mariton (Hervé Mariton), which is much more restrained spoke of humanistic achievements of Putin and was a staunch supporter of the opposition billionaire Mikhail Khodorkovsky. “Khodorkovsky – bandit, he robbed Russia”, – said one of the companions Fillon.

Experience and vision may also explain its current rigid view on the position of France and Europe in Ukraine. “From our side it is hypocrisy and dogmatism, because in fact we do not want to see this country in the European Union”, – he protested, expressing dissatisfaction with the presence of U.S. politicians on anti-Russian demonstrations. Symptoms of the Cold War, Russia’s best friend which would in any way be avoided.

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