“Beauty will save the world.” -Dostoevsky
How true this proverb may be in real life remains uncertain. But what is certain is that beauty in this case might just save French and Russian relation.
As an ambassador for the French party Front National, Marion Maréchal-Le Pen had graciously accepted the invitation by the Deputy of the State Duma and former Crimean Prosecutor Natalia Poklonskaya to come and discuss the future of French-Russian relations.
On Thursday November 17th the two women met in the newly federated Russian republic of Crimea, and exchanged bottled gifts and talks of an interest for fine wine.
Poklonskaya had presented the French party delegate a Russian vintage, while Le Pen had gifted Poklonskaya an unique bottle of champagne with Natalia’s name engraved on the bottle.
Since Russia’s initiation of a more hands on involvement in the geopolitics of Europe (specifically with regards to Ukraine), EU countries- France in particular- have severed many of their previous connections with Russia.
France had to pursue the decision that the European Union took on Russia; and enact a series of economic and political sanctions against the Russian state.
The relationship between France and Russia had grown even more sour in 2015 when France broke a military trade contract signed with Russia which oversaw the sale of 2 Mistral-class navy ships.
With the French Presidential Election being held just around the corner in April and May 2017, Russia hopes to see a revitalization of the two country’s relationship.
Much like with the US Presidential election, it’s in Russia’s best interest to see-to-it that whichever party is declared winner- that the two government can start the healing process.
It just so happens that out of all the open invitations that Russia has sent forth, the Front National party of France had the courage to go against the grain of what’s expected, and visit their old friends in the East.
The Franco-Russian relation stretches as far back since before the French Revolution. During those times it was customary for the royal Russian courts in St. Petersburg to speak French. This tradition lasted all the way up until Russia suffered their own revolution in 1917.