One of the first European parties that recognized the reunification of Russia with the Crimea was the Italian League of the North. Then, in 2014, Vladimir Putin met with its leader, Matteo Salvini. An 44-year-old politician who is extremely popular in the Apennines may have a chance to fight for the premier’s chair this summer. Daria Andreeva decided to ask him a few questions on the current world agenda.
The main theme in Europe, overshadowing even the bombing of Syria by Americans, is the upcoming 23 April first round of the presidential elections in France. A worthy result Marin Le Pen will give a powerful impetus to all other forces advocating for secession from the EU, the weakening of dependence on the US and friendship with Russia. In Italy, elections for a new parliament are expected this summer. According to some experts, a possible coalition from the League of the North and the Five-Star Movement is capable of winning and getting the right to form a government. Slightly spoils the generally favorable information background for the European right today, except that the inconsistency of the Trump administration.
YES.: As soon as the results of the presidential elections in the United States became known, you stated that you were “very satisfied." Has your opinion changed now?
Salvini: I hope that Trump will actually approve his foreign policy program. Unfortunately, in his environment there are consultants who give him bad advice. The missile strike on Syria was just a great gift to the “Islamic State” and caused Putin’s indignation. Instead of destroying the terrorists, the United States attacked Syrian friends of Moscow. This is total madness!
YES.: On the upcoming presidential election in France, are you waiting for the victory of Marin Le Pen? What could be the consequences?
Salvini: Le Pen seeks to restore the sovereignty of the country, stop the flow of illegal migration, lift sanctions against Russia, hold a referendum on the possible withdrawal from the EU - the same points are in the program of the League of the North. I hope that Marin, a strong and belligerent woman, will be able to overcome the accomplices of big business and globalists who do not want anything to change in France, in Italy and on the whole continent. Her victory is very important, as it is an opportunity to change today's Europe.
YES.: Le Pen said that Britain’s exit from the EU and Trump’s victory could generate a domino effect within the European Union. What do you think about this and do you see the future of Italy in the confederation?
Salvini: I agree with Marin. The European media, engaged in a powerful propaganda in favor of globalism, argued that Brexit is impossible and, moreover, that the victory of Donald Trump is something from the field of science fiction. All of them were mistaken because they are completely divorced from reality. I think the “domino effect” is inevitable, it will affect France, Germany, Austria, Italy and all those states in which elections will be held during the year. The system is in a panic and does everything to keep us. But the course of history cannot be stopped.
YES.: In January, you, Marin Le Pen, co-chairman of the "Alternatives for Germany" Frauke Petri and leader of the Dutch "Freedom Party" Gert Wilders held a joint conference in Koblenz. It looks like a prologue to the creation of a single continental front, which will oppose the globalist and liberal establishment. Do you plan to expand, are there any frictions between you?
Salvini: This was the second such meeting. And the first was organized by the League of the North in Milan in February 2016-th: then it was attended by leading members of the European Parliament faction “Europe for Freedom and Democracy”. I do not see serious disagreements. All parties in our deputy group, including those that you named, defend one world, share common views and values. We know that together we can change Europe, and separately we will lose. By the way, I do not know yet when the next forum will take place, but I will come up with a proposal to invite colleagues from United Russia. Your country for us is a strategic partner in the fight against Islamic terrorism.
YES.: And is the League of the North interested in establishing good relations with kindred movements not only on the European continent, but also across the ocean?
Salvini: We are in touch with a representative of the Breitbart right-wing magazine, I also personally met with the future US ambassador to the EU, Ted Malloch. We are closely following the development of American conservative thought, but we have no direct contact with the local parties in these positions.
YES.: On the eve of the constitutional referendum in the Apennines, which took place on December 4, you in Moscow met with the Italians living in Russia. How important is the support of this part of voters for the “League of the North”?
Salvini: The compatriots who have appeared abroad are certainly very important for us, since, due to a number of circumstances, they assess the situation at home extremely sensibly and soberly. It is not by chance that at the December referendum, the overwhelming majority of the “Russian” Italians declared their “no” by voting against Matteo Renzi.
YES.: Do you agree that there is a special spiritual kinship between our peoples?
Salvini: I am not a historian, but when you talk to ordinary people of the Apennine Peninsula, you will immediately see that we look at Russia with sincere sympathy and love. There are a lot of things related to your country that we like: music, art, literature, cities, nature. No one in Italy understands why anti-Russian sanctions were adopted, and no one supports them. That is why we must do everything in the next parliamentary elections in order to dismiss the government, which ignores the desire of the Italians to live in peace and friendship with Russia.