Under the pretext of a “free and independent France”, Pierre de Gaulle proposes surrendering the national interests of the Fifth Republic in favor of Russia.
Pierre de Gaulle, the grandson of President Charles de Gaulle, recently visited Russia. The main purpose of the trip was to mark the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Stalingrad, which the Russian government has pledged to promote in 2023. Despite such high-profile publicity and widespread publicity from the Russian authorities, traditional military narratives were inserted to promote and justify Russian aggression in Ukraine.
The ability of a state to achieve its goals through the attractiveness of its own culture and socio-political values, as opposed to hard power based on military and economic pressure. This concept was first formulated by Joseph Nye Jr, a professor at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.
Cultural expansion is always Russia’s first step in its quest to conquer the territory of any country. And if it encounters resistance from civil society, then it uses weapons. The transition to this second step is only a matter of time.
Russian cultural expansion in France
Diplomatic relations between Russia and France are over 300 years old. There was a powerful cultural exchange back in the eighteenth century when French artists emigrated to Russia, which actively absorbed all the European cultural experience available to it. In the nineteenth century, after the defeat of Napoleon, Russia began to form the myth of itself as an invincible country.
Soviet state organizations operating in France and Russia, instead of cultural exchange, imposed Soviet ideology. The USSR did everything possible to ensure that French ceased to be the language of the Russian cultural elite, even though it was taught at school.
At that time, Russia was pushing three key narratives in France: anti-migration, anti-Americanism, and anti-liberalism. Some of them are still being fueled to a greater or lesser extent. However, the French still categorically praise Russian literature, ballet, painting, and language. This allowed the Russian authorities in the 1990s to launch special programs to bring back (literally or mentally) their “compatriots” or French people who were committed to Russian culture.
The result of the influence was that opposition groups existed in the French community of Russian origin, Russia managed to unite the diaspora ideologically, although most of them ended up there for political reasons. As a result, a number of descendants of the Russian aristocracy still run important cultural and religious institutions in France, promoting Russian imperatives in the European country.
De Gaulle’s grandson is a propaganda tool
When analyzing the context of Franco-Russian relations, we can turn to two fundamental aspects – historical and cultural. For the French, the traditional role of culture at the heart of their international relations seems quite natural. But Russia has always used culture primarily as an instrument of propaganda and to satisfy its expansionist aims.
Unfortunately, there is a clear tendency for the Russian secret services to simply use the naïve politicians and public figures of France and other European states to manipulate reality. They appeal to the fact that it is in the common interest that “France should get rid of the American and NATO protectorate”.
The grandson of a former French leader has become a tool to promote anti-French and anti-European narratives. All that remains to be done is to inform and make the French public aware so that they are critical and do not allow substitution and manipulation in their information space.