A Moscow-backed bank has provided a multi-million-euro loan to the far-right French political party, Time reported this week, which is leading some to wonder if Russian president Vladimir Putin is trying to interfere with Western Europe’s domestic affairs.
Marine Le Pen, who runs the National Front party in France, announced that she had received a loan of 9 million euros ($11.1 million) from the First Czech Russian Bank, which has ties to the Kremlin, according to Time.
“At this stage, Russia is trying to influence French domestic policy,” Jean-Yves Camus, a political researcher at France’s Institute of International and Strategic Relations, told the magazine. “In this respect Putin is pretty much in line with the former USSR. It is the same policy all over again.”
Le Pen has also traveled to Russia to meet with top Putin allies in recent months, per Time. The National Front party aims to remove France from the European Union, while also aligning with Moscow on issues like gay marriage and immigration.