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Weissman writes: "While the US and its NATO allies compete with the Kremlin in a nuclear-tinged and very Orwellian Cold War, Vladimir Putin is bankrolling Marine Le Pen's Front National (FN) in France."

Vladimir Putin. (photo: Alexey Druzhinin/AFP)
Vladimir Putin. (photo: Alexey Druzhinin/AFP)

Putin Funds Far Right in France. "It's No Secret," says Marine Le Pen

By Steve Weissman, Reader Supported News

02 December 14


hile the US and its NATO allies compete with the Kremlin in a nuclear-tinged and very Orwellian Cold War, Vladimir Putin is bankrolling Marine Le Pen’s Front National (FN) in France.

The story is still breaking, fed by an escalating string of revelations from Mediapart, one of Europe’s most dependable sites for investigative reporting. According to its sources in and around the FN, the party stands to receive some €40 million from Putin to cover campaign expenses for regional and departmental elections in 2015 and the legislative and presidential elections in 2017.

Taking campaign funds from a foreign government would break French law, to be sure. But the money comes in the form of “loans” from the Moscow-based First Czech Russian Bank, whose head – Roman Yakubovich Popov – is a former state banker and well-placed member of the Russian political establishment.

“A first installment has been released from a loan of 40 million,” a member of FN’s political bureau told Mediapart. “The installment of 9 million has arrived, 31 will follow.”

“Mediapart has lost its head,” Marine Le Pen answered on Twitter, adamantly denying the larger figure: “The sums they mention are totally fanciful.”

The €9 million she was forced admit. This “is no secret,” she told Le Monde with her usual sangfroid. She even instructed FN’s treasurer to report the “loans” to the party congress this past weekend, where they were celebrated in the company of two Russian dignitaries and fellow-travelers like Holland’s Geert Wilders and the Italian Matteo Salvini of the League of the North.

Did Putin’s money buy the Front National’s allegiance? Absolutely not, she insisted, calling the implication “ridiculous,” “outrageous,” and “offensive.” The FN had been pro-Russian for years, she explained.

As I reported in September, many European neo-Nazis and former Fascists side with Putin’s Russia as a counter to American hegemony. Marine’s father Jean-Marie Le Pen called for such an alliance in his presidential election campaign in 2007, and again in 2009 in his appeal for “a powerful, independent, [and] respected Europe encompassing the nations of the northern (boreal) continent from Brest to Vladivostok.”

Jean Marie also worked closely at the time with neo-Nazis and followers of Stepan Bandera in Ukraine. But once Washington and its European allies put together their coup in Kiev, (See Part I and Part II), Marine Le Pen and many of her political allies in Europe dropped the Ukrainian Hitlerites like a hot pomme de terre, and loudly sang paeans of praise to Putin.

“He is attached to the sovereignty of his people,” she quickly explained in April. “He is aware that we defend common values. These are the values of European civilization” and of our “Christian heritage.” Marine’s foreign policy advisor Aymeric Chauprade went even further, hailing Putin as the champion of Christian civilization and great white hope against the immigrant and Islamist hordes.

Putting a price on such devotion is not easy, but Mediapart stands by its €40 million figure, adding some needed context from Bernard Monot, Le Pen’s advisor on economic strategy and a Member of the European Parliament (MEP). The Front National had not made a “firm request” for the full €40 million, Monot explained. But the amount had been “without doubt, expressed in the discussions with the bank.”

“The potential need is for 45 million,” added Monot. “We’ll fine tune that as we go along.”

Compared to US political campaigns, the figure seems ridiculously low. But, in French terms, the questions are no less intense. Here are self-anointed ultra-patriots discussing their campaign finances with one of Putin’s bankers. As the Russian business daily Kommersant put it, the bank would not have made the loan “without the approval of the Russian authorities.”

Adding to the intrigue, on Saturday Mediapart added a new zinger. Jean-Marie, the Front National’s founder, long-time leader, and now honorary president, also took Moscow’s money, some €2 million, for his financial group Cotelec. According to Mediapart, the funding came in April from a group in Cyprus called Vernonisa Holdings Ltd., headed by KGB veteran Yuri Kudimov. At the time, Kudimov ran the Moscow-based VEB Capital, a state-owned Russian bank overseen by Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev, and Putin before him. Kudimov channeled the €2 million through the Swiss bank Julius Baer.

Jean-Marie Le Pen has admitted the payment, which he too describes as “a loan.” He has so far refused to disclose the intermediaries who organized it, what rate of interest he has to pay, or how he hopes to pay it back.

Why does Putin bankroll the Le Pens and their party? In part, he is looking to find friends wherever he can, especially those who side with him over Ukraine, Moldova, and Georgia. But ideologically, he is increasingly putting his money where his mouth is, supporting those who – as London’s Independent puts it – share his view of the European Union as “a meddlesome, US-controlled enemy of national sovereignty and destroyer of traditional religious and family values.”

Or, as Marine Le Pen put it at her party congress this past weekend, “Our Europe goes from the Atlantic to the Urals, not from Washington to Brussels.”

Europeans – and Americans – need to find a better choice than either one.

A veteran of the Berkeley Free Speech Movement and the New Left monthly Ramparts, Steve Weissman lived for many years in London, working as a magazine writer and television producer. He now lives and works in France, where he is researching a new book, "Big Money and the Corporate State: How Global Banks, Corporations, and Speculators Rule and How to Nonviolently Break Their Hold."

Reader Supported News is the Publication of Origin for this work. Permission to republish is freely granted with credit and a link back to Reader Supported News. your social media marketing partner


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+2 # indian weaver 2014-12-02 14:23
I love it. Karma is an amazing thing, that which in English parlance is called "blowback". French citizens have never been any too impressed with American politics anyhow so now they have a powerful supporter, thank goodness. Levels the playing field just a little bit anyhow. Putin is a tough nut to crack.
+13 # RobertMStahl 2014-12-02 14:54
Really, you don't know whose side this writer is on, really. This could be an ad hominem attack on Putin. I am not defending him, but I do think the propaganda machine plays with the waterline in just this way.
+24 # harleysch 2014-12-02 15:33
The author is definitely opposed to Putin. Ironically, the quote, from the Independent he uses to characterize Putin's view of the EU is quite accurate. The EU and NATO DO constitute a "meddlesome US-controlled enemy of national sovereignty.... "

In order to get Ukraine allied with the EU, the US, UK and NATO supported a Nazi-backed coup against a democratically elected government, and those behind the coup, i.e., the U.S., UK and NATO neo-cons, are pushing for a military encirclement of Russia, while their new allies in Kiev are bombing their own citizens in eastern Ukraine.

Further, those who backed the coup have brought in the IMF to impose bone-crushing austerity in Ukraine -- the same IMF cookie-cutter policy which its own officials admit has had disastrous effects in Greece, Italy, Spain, etc.

I note that while attacking Putin for allegedly funding a political party in France, Mr. Weissman ignores the much larger contributions of U.S. neocons to pull off a coup against the Yanukovic government. According to Gershman, Nuland, and others, NGOs such as the NED acknowledged that they channeled $5 billion to the opposition in Ukraine.

That's a bit more than what he is alleging is coming to the FN from Putin!
+5 # tgemberl 2014-12-02 16:03
$5 billion since 1991. That's what Nuland said. It helps to put the amount in perspective.
+4 # Granny Weatherwax 2014-12-02 20:55
Politics would be simple if one side were always wrong.
the devil is in the details, as always...
0 # Texas Aggie 2014-12-03 01:01
While NATO most assuredly is run for the benefit of the US, it isn't nearly as clear that the EU is influenced by the US. They've been doing a lot of things that aren't exactly US oriented.
+2 # stannadel 2014-12-03 04:03
You are all missing the point, you supposed leftists are defending Putin while he is funding a far right, semi neo-Nazi party in France. So much for your "leftism."
+4 # A_Har 2014-12-03 17:28
Well, hells bells, isn't that what the USA did in the Ukraine? Remember old Victoria Nuland's role just a relatively short time ago?

Regime Change in Kiev

Victoria Nuland Admits: US Has Invested $5 Billion In The Development of Ukrainian, "Democratic Institutions"

OH....and don't forget to get an eyeful of the kind of people supported--full on Nazis.

OH and John Insane McCain was in the middle of this.

John McCain in Kiev: 'Ukraine will make Europe better'

I would not get too self richeous if I were you. Putin is simply following a similar playbook relative to what his government sees as their interests.....j ust like the good old USA.

I do not consider it to be in MY interests, but WTF, they don't represent any of us.
+2 # A P 2014-12-03 12:43
Fer cryin' out loud, do a SEARCH before posting.

Other, non-US-propagan da-media sources say F-N got LOANS from a Russian BANK.

While the truth is being sorted, maybe hold down the anti-Putin hysteria.
-35 # MidwesTom 2014-12-02 15:46
If Putin is, as he says, trying to stop the spread of Islam in Europe, he will gain many friends very rapidly. While the US is embracing Islam (think Muslim prayer in the National Cathedral), Europe now sees the dangers. Europeans now face the later stages of their Muslim "invasion'; mainly give us more, even though we contribute nothing, and change riles and laws to our ways. or we riot. However, as here, keep the welfare coming.

We have a President who was funded by the Saudi's, witness the thrilling of immigration quotes from Muslim countries under Obama.

Putin may actually end up being the lone defender of Christianity. It certainly will not us the US.
+7 # tgemberl 2014-12-02 16:13
"Lone defender of Christianity"

The Parable of the Good Samaritan teaches us to be willing to be neighbors to people unlike ourselves. I don't think that means letting them dominate us, but we can't refuse to be "neighborly." I think it means we can't refuse to live with them.
+8 # reiverpacific 2014-12-02 20:48
Quoting MidwesTom:
If Putin is, as he says, trying to stop the spread of Islam in Europe, he will gain many friends very rapidly. While the US is embracing Islam (think Muslim prayer in the National Cathedral), Europe now sees the dangers. Europeans now face the later stages of their Muslim "invasion'; mainly give us more, even though we contribute nothing, and change riles and laws to our ways. or we riot. However, as here, keep the welfare coming.

We have a President who was funded by the Saudi's, witness the thrilling of immigration quotes from Muslim countries under Obama.

Putin may actually end up being the lone defender of Christianity. It certainly will not us the US.

"Lone defender of Christianity????
What bloody planet d'you live on??
For somebody who claims some travel and life experience, you constantly come over as a blinkered and narrow-minded American of the type I used to encounter all the time (Brits, Aussies and Germans also) who never descended from their comfortable, colonialist, well-to-do, smug, patronizing mien and company-paid homes in any country they infested but made no attempt to understand!
And Putin as a "Christian" -gimme a bloody whisky break!!!
'Nuff said!
+2 # stannadel 2014-12-03 04:05
Of course he's a Christian--of the KGB denomination.
+5 # RLF 2014-12-03 07:18
I certainly hope that we are not the "defender of Christianity" or any other stupid superstition!
-24 # MidwesTom 2014-12-02 15:49
That should be the tripling of immigration quotas from Muslim countries.

For Saudi funding of Obama:
+5 # CAMUS1111 2014-12-03 17:08
freerepublic is a "news" source mostly to right wing extremists (or people "had" by them....
+14 # REDPILLED 2014-12-02 15:51
Meanwhile, the Kiev government installed via coup in Ukraine with much U.S. assistance includes neo-Nazis who hate Jews and Russians.

What the hell is going on?
-7 # tgemberl 2014-12-02 16:08
Perhaps you should take the claim of a "neo-Nazi coup" with a grain of salt. Any mass movement will attract unsavory elements. The same thing happened with the Occupy movement, which attracted people who got violent. No mass movement can control who gets involved completely.

The real question will be what the Ukrainian regime will be like. I predict that any extremist elements will be marginalized, but I could be wrong.
+12 # chuckvw 2014-12-02 16:49
I don't recall any of Occupy's "unsavory elements" receiving cabinet positions. Perhaps I just missed the news that day.

The extremist elements (including foreign "volunteers"), at Poroshenko's behest, are now in the east doing the dirty work that regular Ukrainian forces refuse to do.
0 # tgemberl 2014-12-02 18:52
Would you tell us the names of these "unsavory" people who got cabinet positions?

I'm not asking that just to be argumentative. I really want to know so I can evaluate the point you're making.

The problem I have with the "Neo-Nazi coup" claims is that they're often made by people who think you have to accept one big strategic block or another. You either accept the Americans or the Russians as the good guys. There's no way the Ukrainians could just decide things for themselves. Inevitably they're beholden to either the US or the Russians.
+5 # Archie1954 2014-12-02 16:58
Even with this article's explanations, I still find it difficult to understand how America's big "Communist" threat coud be finanacing an extremist right wing political group.
+2 # tclose 2014-12-02 17:19
Good question. Strange bedfellows.
+4 # tingletlc 2014-12-02 18:08
Quoting tclose:
Good question. Strange bedfellows.

Yeah. It's enough to boggle the happy ideologues of right and left on RSN. My guess: in the real world, power trumps principle.
+7 # Texas Aggie 2014-12-03 00:57
When you go far enough to the left, you find yourself coming around to the right. Authoritarianis m is the same no matter what label you put on it. It's the reason that you find right wing religionists in bed with neocon warmongers and Wall St. financiers.
0 # Caliban 2014-12-03 02:57
Surely, it is now clear that Putin is a right-winger with totalitarian desires and capabilities and that our normal assumption that "communist" equal "leftist" is erroneous.

Time to start rethinking our customary terminology.
+5 # reiverpacific 2014-12-02 21:06
Fear not o' thou of little faith.
I know France and the French well enough to perceive this as just a sideman gig.
They still have enough power over their government (As opposed to rulers) to bring the country to a screeching halt if they become pissed-off enough at ANY one issue which keeps them from enjoying life in their unique way which the US should envy rather than mock (The mockery of which just makes them chuckle pityingly -like the infantile "Freedom Fries" thing).
I'd be surprised if Le Pen gets within a sniff of the Presidency in spite of the US owner-media's alarmist and almost hysterical wish for such an advent.
I hope I'm right as France is one of my three target nations I'm seriously considering for re-settlement in my departure from the Fragmented States.
+4 # Stevodevo 2014-12-03 08:42
The USA is following the path of Great Brittain, a slow but inexorable moral and political decline. End of the empire and nothing to show for it but huge debts to China, Saudi Arabia and Japan. At least we still have our professional sports to watch, or "bread and circuses" as the used to call it in the last days of the Roman Empire.
+2 # polfrosch 2014-12-04 07:34
Wow. What a scandal. Outragous.

A 40 million bank loan for a right wing populist party and the bank personnel has some connections with some people who have some connections with Putin.

I bet something like this couldn´t happen in the USA.

Let´s see.

1. The french front national is a pro Israel, anti-islamist, anti-immigratio n party - What would such a far right, fascist party be called in the USA?


2. In the USA all funding for the 2 right wings of the united national neocon party is coming from the pennies of John and Mary Doe, collected on the streets in tin cans labeled Super-Pac, right?

3. Also, a total of 40 million. Outragous. A sum the US parties dream of. (In their worst nightmares.)

4. Is this possibly a move from "Vladimir the Antichrist" towards US political positions?

Wasn´t and isn´t it a core strategy for US foreign policy to always side with the most fascist and right wing party in any country it has interests in?

From the CIA nazis to Pinochet in Chile to the Ukrainian oligarch mobs?

Did Putin finally understand: Studying the USA means studying victory.

5. Oh, I forgot, Putin can not escape the US double standard game. Because rules enforced by US governments do not apply to the USA.

Or, to be more precise: There aren´t any rules for US governments. "Laws r´us", and they are subject to change without prior notice.

Humanitarian intervention, anyone?
-2 # Anarchist 23 2014-12-04 15:07
Since Stalin had a 'deal' with the original Nazis that went badly wrong (the Russian generals thought they had a deal with Hitler to help remove Stalin in a coup de etat; Hitler then sold them out to Stalin, Stalin purged all the generals in his army and then...invasion ) Putin should be aware of Neo-Nazi tendency of Le Pen and should remember old proverb: He who dines with the Devil should use a long handled spoon!
+1 # RMDC 2014-12-05 07:36
When will Putin start putting money into US political campaigns? American sure as hell need it. He could balance out the Israelis and all the Israeli supporters like Sheldon Adelson.
0 # Edwina 2014-12-05 10:46
Tricky business, this "the enemy of my enemy is my friend". As we have found out in the Middle East. If any of us are to survive into the next century, we need to give up the game of dominance, and begin to work on our common problems -- such as climate change.
-2 # Douglas Jack 2014-12-05 23:09
Steve Weissman, This article supposedly about Putin is western war-propaganda. Lets put the millions reported here into perspective of billions spent by the west. Yes there are the natural financial links throughout Europe to which Putin can be linked but the reality is that LePen & the far right are being financed by western sources. Ukraine for one (of 80 destabilization projects worldwide) example NATO & the USA (Victoria Nuland & Robert Kagan) financed 15 billion dollars worth 60 billion in Ukraine's economy for the Svoboda Right-Sektor NAZI putsch of the democratically elected Yanukovych government before a scheduled election. Western oligarchs didn't believe the Svoboda & Right-Sektor could win even a minority government through a fair election as agreed upon.

I'm surprised RSN publishes Weissman's continuing anti-world western propaganda. Yes Weissman clearly identifies a strawman enemy here, but RSN readers have been there & back again to know this pattern of false western accusations meant to destabilize & control other nations through such hate. RSN'ers know that; 1) western oligarchs are the real billion-dollar funders of fascism in Europe, North-America & Israel, 2) misinformation is systematically spread throughout our MSM with no mention of western Finance-Media-M ilitary-Industr ial-Legislative -Complex fascist global manipulations in the trillions. The west is fascist.
0 # tgemberl 2014-12-07 19:03
Here are some other sources showing the link exists:

I don't know French, but here's an interview of the elder Le Pen:

The far right loves people who convey a sense of strength and decisiveness. Putin is perfect for that. They don't want any ambiguity in their world.

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