The French far-right's embarrassing pre-invasion views on Russia and Ukraine


The French presidential election is about to get underway in earnest with President Emmanuel Macron finally set to announce his candidature ahead of the elections in April. According to opinion polls his two main rivals are both from the far-right: the Rassemblement National president Marine Le Pen and maverick polemicist Éric Zemmour. Yet both are set to be embarrassed by the far-right's long-held support of Vladimir Putin at a time when Russia has just sparked outrage around the world by invading Ukraine. As historian Nicolas Lebourg reports, the two candidates will find it hard to reconcile the far-right's general support for Putin's regime and the risk of being seen as traitors to French national interests.

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How can you be credible in backing a “Europe of sovereign nations” if you also support the invasion of a sovereign European nation? Marine Le Pen and Éric Zemmour, the two far-right candidates in France's presidential elections in April, have been careful not to support Russia's attack on Ukraine. But their past stances reveal themselves to be far more ambiguous than their current declarations.