Despite Tougher Policy, France’s Hollande Still Seeks Solid Russia Ties

French President Francois Holland and Russian President Vladimir Putin, Moscow, Russia, Dec. 6, 2014 (photo from the Russian Presidential Press and Information Office).
French President Francois Holland and Russian President Vladimir Putin, Moscow, Russia, Dec. 6, 2014 (photo from the Russian Presidential Press and Information Office).
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Following a long-standing Gaullist tradition, and driven by romantic memories of their alliance from the two world wars, France has been careful to maintain good relations with Russia while remaining a member of NATO. But the Ukraine crisis has led to a significant change in France’s Russia policy, as evidenced by the saga over the sale to Russia of two Mistral-class warships. That deal was arranged in 2011 by President Francois Hollande’s predecessor, Nicolas Sarkozy. Encouraged by his prime minister, Francois Fillon, a traditional Gaullist, and his defense minister, Herve Morin, who was keen on ensuring jobs for the beleaguered […]

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