The Italian media’s attempts to play the “Russian card” in the run-up to the European election

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On April 6, the national Italian newspaper Repubblica published an article by Claudio Gatti entitled “How Russia is trying to influence the foreign policy of European countries” which provides details of a journalistic investigation carried out jointly with the British BBC, the German ZDF and Spiegel.

The anti-Russian accusations made by the author are based on a copy of an email distributed by the Dossier Centre owned by Mikhail Khodorkovsky. This email was allegedly sent to the Foreign Policy Directorate at the Presidential Executive Office in April 2017, by an Assistant to a State Duma Deputy, Pyotr Premyak.

Gatti indicates, however, that he does not have reliable data about the Northern league or the Five Star Movement joining the “Moscow network.” But as indirect evidence, he points to the visits by representatives of these two political parties to Russia, their calls to lift the anti-Russian sanctions, and their “attempts” to normalise relations with Bashar al-Assad, as well as their posting of material by the Russian media, such as RT and Sputnik, on their official party websites. As an argument in defence of his conspiracy theory, the author also cites a 2017 memorandum on cooperation between the Italian Northern League and United Russia. In closing, the author tries to “draw parallels” with the investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller in the United States, who found no evidence of Russia's interference in Trump’s election campaign, but stated that “attempts by the Russian special services did take place.”

In connection with such publications, we would like to once again point out that our country strictly observes the principle of non-interference in the domestic affairs of foreign states, including Italy. We regard the attempts to whip up an imaginary Russian threat in the context of the internal political struggle in the run-up to the May election in the EU as dishonest practices by certain Italian media.



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