As if to solidify her status as part of a global far right movement, Le Pen met with Putin on Friday.
The meeting took place in the Kremlin with Le Pen “gesticulating energetically across the table from a disengaged-looking Mr. Putin,” according to The New York Times. Le Pen has long expressed admiration for Putin, even telling a Russian newspaper in 2011 that “I admire Vladimir Putin,” and Le Pen’s National Front Party received a $9.7 million loan from a Russian bank in 2014. Le Pen is an advocate for lifting sanctions imposed against Russia after its 2014 invasion of Ukraine and for France pulling out of the European Union, both of which would further Putin’s economic and geopolitical goals.
After the meeting, Le Pen told reporters that “it’s now the world of Putin, the world of Donald Trump,” according to The Guardian.
Le Pen raised eyebrows in January when she visited Trump Tower, although she did not visit Trump himself at the time. On the previous day, she was the guest of honor at a cocktail party in Trump Tower at an apartment rented by a right-wing political operative connected to both Trump and European far right politicians.
A recent poll shows that Le Pen and an independent centrist candidate, Emmanuel Macron, are in the lead for the French presidential election, which will be held on April 23, although 43 percent of voters are hesitant about who they should choose. Unless one candidate wins more than 50 percent of the vote in that election (which one Goldman Sachs analyst believes is possible, though certainly not a sure thing), a runoff election will be held on May 7. Polls anticipate that Macron would easily win that contest.
Author: Matthew Rozsa