THE RUSSIA CONNECTIONLe Pen’s Far-Right Party “Mouthpiece,” “Communication Channel” for the Kremlin: French Parliament Report

Published 8 June 2023

Marine Le Pen and her populist far-right National Rally party had long been accused of parroting Russia’s propaganda and praising Vladimir Putin’s strongman approach to politics. In the hope of refuting these charges, the NR set up a parliamentary inquiry to investigate foreign interference in French politics. The move backfired spectacularly: The committee’s findings, which will be released next week, show that on a host of issues, Le Pen’s policy stances were indistinguishable from Putin’s – and in most cases, she and her party used the very same language used by Russia’s propaganda organs.

A parliamentary committee of France’s National Assembly had concluded a six-month inquiry — after holding more than fifty hearings and interviewing dozens and dozens of witnesses – on foreign interference in French politics.

The committee’s report, which will be made public next week, found the Marine Le Pen’s populist far-right party, the National Rally (Rassemblement national or RN) had served as a “communication channel” and “transmission belt” for Russian power and interests on a host of issues.

For example, the RN officially supported the Russian annexation of Crimea.

The committee’s final report was adopted last Thursday on an 11-5 vote – to the consternation of RN lawmaker Jean-Philippe Tanguy, the investigative committee’s chairman and the lawmaker who, six months ago, sponsored the bill which created the investigative committee.

In her own testimony before the committee, Le Pen reiterated her support for Russia’s annexation of Crimea, which she described as “reattachment.”

Le Pen, who twice ran for president of France (2017, 2012), had often spoken admiringly of Putin and said that his “nationalist rhetoric” and “Christian values” should be emulated in France. She said repeatedly that Russian 2008 incursions into Georgia and 2014 incursions into Crimea and the Donbas region of Ukraine posed no threat to Europe.

France24reports that The 218-page report says that there has been a “long-standing” link between Russia and the populist far-right party co-founded by Marine’s father, Jean-Marie Le Pen (the party’s original name was the National Front). The report stressed that the “strategy of political and ideological rapprochement” between RN and Moscow had “accelerated” since Marine Le Pen became leader of the party in 2011. 

Over dozens of pages, the report details frequent contacts between RN representatives and Russian officials, culminating in March 2017, ahead of the French presidential election, when Le Pen enjoyed a Kremlin welcome usually reserved for heads of state.