What Is the Place of France in the Ukraine and Russia Crisis?

What Is the Place of France in the Ukraine and Russia Crisis?

Karim Belgacem (Sciences Po Grenoble, France)
Copyright: © 2020 |Pages: 16
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-2906-5.ch004


The current world is not moving as all specialists predicted. Brexit, Trump, everyone was wrong. This chapter will have two targets: describing the French policy toward Russia, the past with USSR, and following its position in the Ukrainian conflict. It is good to remind that Hollande was involved in the Ukrainian affairs and had managed with Germany the Minsk I and II agreements. He had also suspended Mistral ships selling and approving sanctions against Russia. Despite these good intentions, which parts or positions would support France? The fears of Putin or the interest of France could drive the French policy in opposition of Charles De Gaulle independent policy.
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2016 has seen many surprised and unexpected events: Brexit, Donald Trump elections. All institutes had been mistaken about prediction and the feeling of populism, nationalism and insiders is not an exaggeration but reality. Inside France, Marine Le Pen is still powerful and represents a threat for France and also in Europe. She is trying to play with all the fears of migration, European policy and the populism contagion, which happened in Poland or Hungary.

But with A program based on the restoration of a strong stage with French and catholic identity, she’s really able to catch electors.

If western European countries could think about a certain paranoia, the communism period and Russian’s aggression with Ukraine and violation area of NATO countries as France and Baltic countries, all these facts proved that the big Russia is “playing” with fire and the fact than European Union is divided about its own policy and action toward Russia.

France is in betweenness with Russia and Ukraine. Russia is an important economic and strategic partner. Ukraine could at least just represent symbol of freedom, human rights and a new Europe. But France has a long history with Russia. After the 1917 revolution, when Russian immigration to France increased, the idea of a European Russian was in the air. Charles De Gaulle’s policy was a mix of pragmatism and realism. His famous expression “Europe from Brest to Vladivostok” underlined the potential connection between Russia and the rest of Europe and that events would create balance against American “imperialism». Today, some French support reconciliation and a new partnership with Russia.

For analyzing the position of France between Russia and Ukraine, we will make a flash back on the USSR period and the French policy of Mitterrand. We will observe how Chirac, the “natural son” of Charles De Gaulle took position toward Eastern Europe’s countries and will make a focus on Macron and Putin relationships. About Ukraine, focus will be made on the French and European Union position and the Minsk agreement.

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