French political (and cultural) circles have had an enduring fascination for the Soviet, and then Russian, politics. For instance, the French Communist Party remained quite strong well into the 1970s, with Stalinian accents.

More recently, Vladimir Putin's authoritarian figure has proved appealing, especially at both ends of the political spectrum: far right and far left.

“Russia's economic and cultural powerful attraction is legitimate”, explains Landes.

“Russia is a country with a long and rich history, doubled with immense investing opportunities. However, the enduring Russian influence on French politics is intriguing. For instance, the left-wing coalition that is currently ahead in the polls for the general elections is led by a political party (La France Insoumise), which held troubling positions. Their frontman, Jean-Luc Mélenchon, proposed to renegotiate all the frontiers inherited from the fall of the Soviet Union, refused to condemn the annexation of Crimea, or the internal repression of opponents in Russia (e.g. Navalny). Moreover, his views are widely shared inside and outside his party. In the article, I identify four factors explaining such attraction: (1) a communism nostalgia; (2) a deeply ingrained anti-Americanism (which translates into anti-NATO and anti-Western sentiments); (3) a (delusional) sense of national grandeur, well instrumentalized by the Kremlin; (4) a fascination for providential, preferably, authoritarian leaders, in France and abroad (e.g. Napoleon or de Gaulle).”


Read the full article in the online magazine Satori (in Latvian)