Hearing at the National Assembly, Marine Le Pen repeats that Crimea is indeed Russian – RT in French

The former president of the National Rally was heard by a parliamentary commission of inquiry into interference. Asked about her relations with Moscow, she recalled her support for the annexation of Crimea to Russia.

“I say it, I have no difficulty in saying it”: Marine Le Pen has not backed down on the question of the attachment of Crimea to Russia. In 2014, this territory then integrated into Ukraine had joined the Russian fold in favor of a referendum, an attachment described as “annexation” by the Western powers. During a hearing held on Wednesday May 24, 2023, the one who was president of the National Front (renamed National Rally in 2018) and who is today at the head of a group of 88 deputies at the Assembly, stuck to the position it has held for a decade now.

A statement that could surprise, while Marine Le Pen had changed her position with regard to Russia since February 2022, declaring then “that no reason can justify the launch of a military operation against Ukraine by Russia which upsets the balance of peace in Europe”. Also the new president of the RN, Jordan Bardella, had he regretted in February in the columns of L’Opinion a “collective naivety with regard to the intentions and ambitions of Vladimir Putin” within the national party, before the conflict does not burst.

More than 3h30 on the grill

Often accused of acquaintance with Moscow, received in the Kremlin by Putin during the French presidential campaign of 2017, Marine Le Pen has regularly been criticized by her detractors for loans contracted in 2014 from a Czech-Russian bank.

The Commission of Inquiry into Interference (political, economic and financial by foreign powers) questioned several members of Marine Le Pen’s party. The latter has also volunteered to answer questions from the creation of the commission by the voice of the president of the latter, the deputy RN Jean-Philippe Tanguy.

For the sake of “impartiality”, it was the vice-president of the commission who conducted the hearing, the elected centrist (Modem) Laurent Esquenet-Goxes. The interview lasted more than three and a half hours and involved political issues both for the National Rally and for its opponents.

The Loan of Discord

Marine Le Pen recalled in her speech before the commission the context of 2014 for her party then called the National Front. A period of deficit due to electoral defeats for several years and amplified by the refusal of French and European banks to lend them money. Recalling the promise of the President of the Republic (at the request of the Modem François Bayrou) to create a “bank of democracy” to avoid problems with the financing of candidates, Marine Le Pen raised the problem of the financing of political parties and campaigns. In France. In addition, she insisted on denouncing an “unacceptable defamation campaign […] which was intended to suggest that the ideas that we could defend could have been influenced by the emergence of this loan”. A criticism also formulated by Emmanuel Macron during their debate between the two rounds, in April 2022.

Marine Le Pen also recalled that “the origin of the funds, like the regularity of this loan, like the regularity of the repayments that we have made […] have been verified by our bank first, it is an obligation […] the two auditors of our movement, but also TRACFIN […]the CCNCCFP (National Commission for Campaign Accounts and Political Funding)”. Finally, on the suspicion of connivance between the Russian State and the targeted bank, the elected representative of the North recalled that the bank had gone bankrupt, which according to her rarely happens for a bank of a great world power.

Crimea is Russian

The question of the loan evacuated, the vice-president of the commission questioned Marine Le Pen on her position on the attachment of Crimea to the Russian Federation. She then claimed to have always said the same thing, namely that “Crimea was Russian for two centuries […] Ukrainian girl 60 years old, given by a dictator […] on a whim, a whim”. “Absolute defender of the referendum, I considered that the inhabitants of Crimea had freely expressed themselves by voting to be attached to Russia,” she then declared. This position on Crimea makes Marine Le Pen an original in the French political landscape where, among leading figures, few have adopted such a line.

The former elected to the European Parliament also put forward her experience, having gone there and claiming to have met a lot of people and “found that indeed they felt much more deeply attached to Russia than to Ukraine” . And to recall “that people did not leave Crimea after the referendum”.

The passage of the triple presidential candidate evacuated, his party could use this commission for cases of supposed interference affecting other political formations, in particular that of Qatargate.


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