France: far-right party Kremlin links exposed

A French parliamentary report leaked to the press June 1 asserts that Marine Le Pen's far-right party Rassemblement National knowingly served as a "communication channel" for Kremlin propaganda. Le Pen called the report "sectarian, dishonest and politicized"—despite the fact that it was Le Pen herself who demanded an investigation into foreign interference in French politics. Le Pen has long been openly supportive of the Kremlin. After Russia invaded Crimea in 2014, Le Pen insisted that Moscow's annexation of the territory was not illegal. In testimony before the investigative committee, she reiterated this position, calling the annexation a "re-attachment."

Le Pen's party, previously named the National Front, is known for extreme anti-immigrant, anti-Semitic, Islamophobic and anti-EU stances. As such, French banks are hesitant to give the party loans for campaigns. Le Pen instead obtained campaign loans from a Russian-Czech bank in 2014, and more recently from Hungary's state-owned MKB Bank in 2022.

When asked about the influence of these loans, Le Pen has said: "Why would it influence me? When you take out a loan, what's your obligation other than paying it back? You have no other obligation."

From Jurist, June 5. Used with permission.

We have noted the Russian connections of two generations of Le Pen party leadership here, here, here and here.

Protests in Poland over 'contradictory' anti-propaganda law

Hundreds of thousands of people hit the streets yesterday in Poland, protesting what they see as growing authoritarianism in the country. Many were motivated in response to a new law that is supposed to target Russian propaganda in Poland. But some protestors believe the law actually follows Russian tactics of repression of the opposition. (PRI)