Russia has neither ‘hope’ nor ‘illusion’ of improved French ties

Russia on Monday said it had neither the “hope” nor the “illusion” that relations with Paris would improve following the left-wing alliance’s victory in French legislative elections.
Despite having come top in the first round vote last month and having led comfortably in opinion polls, the far-right party of Marine Le Pen — who previously enjoyed warm relations with Russian President Vladimir Putin — finished a disappointing third in Sunday’s second round run-offs.
“For Russia, the best thing would be a victory for political forces ready to make the efforts to restore our bilateral relationships,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.
“Right now we do not see such a political will clearly expressed by anyone, so we do not harbour any hope or particular illusion on this matter.”
Vyacheslav Volodin, the president of Russia’s lower house Duma, praised French voters for “showing the door” to President Emmanuel Macron, whose Renaissance party haemorrhaged seats.
“The same fate awaits all the European leaders currently in power who interfere in other state’s questions of sovereignty, while their citizens demand that they resolve internal problems and develop the national economy,” he wrote on Telegram.
Russian authorities remained prudent after the RN topped the voting in last month’s first round in France.
Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov had criticised the moves by the left-wing and centrist alliances to stand down candidates for Sunday’s second round in order to join forces in an anti-RN coalition.
“The second round seems to have been designed to manipulate the desire expressed by voters in the first round… this does not really look like a democracy,” Lavrov had told a Kremlin-friendly journalist.
Putin’s own re-election in March was widely criticised by Western countries as rigged.

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