A French Parliamentary report leaked to the French press Thursday claimed Marine Le Pen’s far-right party “Rassemblement national” knowingly spread Kremlin talking points. Le Pen called the report “sectarian, dishonest and politicized,” despite the fact that it was Le Pen herself who demanded an investigation into foreign interference in French politics.
Le Pen is known historically to be supportive of the Kremlin. In 2014, when Russia invaded Crimea, Le Pen insisted that the Moscow annexation of Crimea was not illegal. Her party, previously named the “National Front,” is known for extreme anti-immigration, antisemitic, anti-Islam and anti-EU stances. As such, French banks are hesitant to give the party loans for campaigns. Le Pen instead obtained campaign loans from a Russian-Czech bank in 2014, and more recently from Hungary’s state-owned bank in 2022.
When asked about the influence of these loans, Le Pen says “Why would it influence me? When you take out a loan, what’s your obligation other than paying it back? You have no other obligation.”
Accusations of Russian involvement in elections are not exclusive to France. Poland will establish a committee next week that will investigate whether certain politicians are “under Russian influence.” The FBI has also long been probing Russia’s involvement with Donald Trump and American election influence, but a recent special counsel report said that the FBI’s investigation was based on inadequate intelligence.