Thursday, December 7

The Russian Embassy in Italy publishes photos of Putin with candidates for the elections

The electoral campaign closes today, with Putin’s war breaking into its last curve and returning to the center of the debate in Italy, with the Russian Embassy in Rome blowing on the fire. Meanwhile, in the political battle in the south, the leader of the 5-Star Movement, former Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, who pretends to be the Italian Mélenchon, becomes strong, and the leader of the League, Matteo Salvini, who is Southern Italy has turned its back. In the last hours of campaignpolitical leaders have made an effort to launch messages in which harsh tones are mixed, on the one hand, and reassuring, on the other, in an attempt to convince the undecided for Sunday’s vote.

A few hours before the polls open, Russia’s umpteenth interference or warning against Italy arrives. After various attacks by Moscow against Italian politics and controversies with the Russian Embassy in Rome in recent months, the latest provocation is once again caused by the diplomatic legation in the Italian capital. Through her Facebook page, she posts a series of photos of President Vladimir Putin with all Italian politicians whom he has met over the years, from the President of the Republic, Sergio Mattarella, to the former Prime Minister, Silvio Berlusconi, as well as other leading figures in this electoral campaign, such as Enrico Letta, Giuseppe Conte, Matteo Salvini or Luigi Di Maio. The photos are accompanied by this message: «From the recent history of relations between Russia and Italy. We have some to remember.”

Basically, the idea that the Embassy intends to convey with this provocation is that Italian politicians are “traitors” with respect to what the previous relationships were. Some analysts even consider that, in addition to the obvious intimidation implied by the message accompanied by the photographs, Moscow also issues a warning to the effect that in the future some information or secret about relations between Russia and some of the leaders who appear in the gallery published by the legation.

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Salvini, a diverse history

The Embassy omits a very important piece of information: the politicians mentioned had relations with the Kremlin when they had government responsibilities, exclusively in the institutional sphere. Diverse is the history of the leader of the League, Matteo Salvini, whose relations with Putin have been political. It should be remembered that since March 2017 a pact signed between the League and United Russia, the party of the Russian president, has been in force. The agreement was tacitly renewed last March, in the midst of Moscow’s offensive against Ukraine. Furthermore, in the past, Salvini did nothing to hide his feelings of admiration for the Russian presidentto the point of displaying himself smiling in Moscow’s Red Square with a Putin t-shirt and affirming that he gave in “two Mattarella [presidente de la República] through Putin.”

The provocation comes hours after the reactions of Italian politicians to the speech of the tenant of the Kremlin, who threatened to use nuclear weapons. Giorgia Meloni, leader of the Brothers of Italy, favorite to win the elections and form a probable coalition government with Liga and Forza Italia, was forceful in his condemnation of Putin, praising “the extraordinary resistance of a people that defends its sovereignty and freedom.” While Meloni takes a pro-Atlantic Alliance line, Salvini has been forced to distance himself from Putin, but without completely abandoning his criticism of the sanctions against Moscow. “It’s not good news [el discurso de Putin]but I hope that the war ends as soon as possible.

Without a doubt, Matteo Salvini is in low hours. The whole country has been covered, but much consensus has been lost. His idea that the League was a national party, that it would also take root in the south, has vanished. In an electoral campaign focused on the war, energy crisis, inflation, unemployment and taxes, the problem of immigration, which is Salvini’s permanent obsession, was absent. But in this campaign hardly anyone was interested, although landings have increased. From January 1 to September 20, 68,300 immigrants arrived on Italian shores, 24,934 more than in the same period of the previous year, when 43,366 landed.

news in the south

Salvini intended to dispute the leadership of the coalition with Giorgia Meloni, but it has been the leader of the Brothers of Italy who has prevailed, even in some places traditionally a fiefdom of the League, such as Veneto. In the south, the poor region of Italy, Meloni has filled the seats at his rallies. The wind of protest from families over the economic crisis has blown to the right this time to benefit Meloni, as it blew to the left in the 2018 elections. It is no coincidence that tonight Meloni closes his campaign with a rally in Naples. In any case, a surprise is also taking place in the south: the 5-Star Movement, which was almost in disarray, has managed to come back thanks to its leader, the former Prime Minister, Giuseppe Conte, with a left-wing populist streak in the style of the Frenchman Mélenchon .

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