Vladimir Putin flies to Paris to open an exhibition dedicated to Peter I, and meet a “political Prodigy” Emanuel Macron, which has already withstood the test of aptitude at the summits of NATO and the G7. The Kremlin hopes that the new generation of the French establishment will be more independent and pragmatic than his predecessor, and relations with Russia will be guided by the interests of France, not “dance to the tune” of the allies.
Exactly 300 years ago – in late may, 1717 – in the glittering Paris arrived unexpectedly, Lord of barbarous Russia, at that time still the king, not the Emperor, Peter I. the French did not know the true intentions of the guests. Therefore, the Duke of Orleans, a former Regent for the young Louis XV, was assigned to Peter his man with the surname de Liboi to ferret out this information. Later de Liboa wrote that Russian Tsar much more willing to learned new things and traveling than led business and political conversations. And if they still had a place, this was done for the indispensable “glass of wine” and no one in the morning remembered nothing…
Of course, this description has nothing to Vladimir Putin, who, as you know, almost does not drink, and travelling abroad with the primary aim of the negotiations, gripping the trip at any distance up to 1-2 days. Still, Putin’s visit and the Embassy of Peter I combines at least one common goal – to cut through the “window to Europe”. For Russia it is once again slammed shut in 2014 after the annexation of Crimea and the destabilization of the Southeast of Ukraine. And now, when hopes for trump did not materialize, the Kremlin does not like to start a new page in relations with France and the European Union, taking advantage of the kind invitation of Emmanuel Macron. “A trip to Paris needs to restore stable relations between the two countries, which at the time came from Peter the Great during his famous visit,” writes the French Libération. And the Director of the French Institute of international relations Volume Gomar remembers 2001, when, for the first time while in Paris, Putin called the EU a natural partner of Russia. According to the analyst, the same message of the Russian President can bring to Europeans at this time.
The Kremlin does not deny that preparing to visit with an “open visor”: Vladimir Putin goes to France not to aggravate contradictions, and try to find common ground. “We believe that a visit to Versailles provides an opportunity for confidential exchange of views on a wide range of issues. The presidents can meet each other and hold informal talks in order to feel the positions of Russia and France, as well as to establish working contacts”, – said Putin aide for international Affairs Yuri Ushakov. Although the visit was prepared in a hurry, the program, he said, was rich and interesting. All social events – in addition to the exhibition dedicated to Peter I, GDP will visit the Russian spiritual and cultural centre, which did not get in last year because of a quarrel with the ex-President Hollande — transferred on the evening of that first half of the day to devote to the discussions.
Ushakov said that during the negotiations in Versailles Putin will raise the issue of resuming the work of the intergovernmental and Interparliamentary commissions, whose operations were frozen in 2014. Emmanuel macron, believe the Kremlin could agree to such a move, because as economy Minister he participated in the meetings one of the joint Institute of the Council for economic, financial and trade issues, and even publicly advocated the abolition of anti-Russian sanctions. Russia is also concerned about the drop in trade over three years with $ 22 billion fell to $ 13 billion.
However, a large part of the meeting will be devoted to international Affairs. 15 may in Berlin, Emmanuel macron have already discussed the Ukrainian issue with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and recently spoke by phone with Poroshenko. Now is the time to obtain estimates of the Russian side. “We expect that Putin and the Makron will confirm the necessity of hard work in the framework of the Normandy format, and no alternative to the Minsk agreements”, – otkrovennichaet Yuri Ushakov. On the Syrian track, the two leaders have little chance to come to an understanding, since France is firmly insists on resignation of Bashar al-Assad. However, this does not exclude interesting and meaningful discussions. Ushakov recalled that after the terrorist attack in Paris, Putin and Hollande agreed on coordination of actions of the Russian and French troops in Syria, but this accord has not been implemented, including under US pressure. Macron during the election campaign repeatedly declared inadmissibility of intervention of Washington in the foreign policy of his country. In Versailles, Putin will try to find out how these words relate to the case. According to the assistant to the Russian President, the recent terrorist attack in Manchester has clearly demonstrated the urgent need of countries to join efforts in the fight against terror.
Himself Emmanuel macron on the eve of the visit of Vladimir Putin declared that is configured to “demanding a dialog”. However, according to French media, the choice of the meeting place of the famous residence “sun king”, says a lot not only about the ambitions of the Macron, but also about his true attitude to the Russian leader. This gesture negates all the claims of skeptics who claim that the French President is extremely negative towards Russia and personally to Putin. And although fraternization of the two leaders, no one is waiting, even small steps towards each other in the current situation is already a big progress. Moreover, as shown by the latest opinion poll, despite the persecution of the channels that him impressed the vast majority of Russians, and 25% of respondents identified with his name the hope of improving Russian-French relations.
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