Published: Sat, March 25, 2017
Culture | By Kelly Harrison

Marine Le Pen Meets Russian President

Relations with the U.S. USA intelligence agencies have accused Moscow of hacking to interfere in the 2016 US election.

Le Pen, prior to meeting Putin on Friday, went to the Russian parliament's foreign affairs committee, where she was greeted with blue roses and with kisses and where she said that the European Union should drop its sanctions on Russia.

But he noted the Front National represents "quite a fast-developing spectrum of European political forces", in reference to a surge in anti-EU populist movements.

Le Pen, in 2014, admitted to taking a €9 million loan from a bank with links to the Kremlin-linked.

Nevertheless, according to the political scientist, Le Pen's visit to Russian Federation can cause a mixed reaction among the French society.

Her campaign treasurer Jean-Michel Dubois didn't respond to a text message asking if she plans to meet with potential lenders during the Russian visit. Le Pen has countered by saying that "if any English or American bank would offer money I would gladly accept it".

Le Pen, who polls show likely to reach the May 7 run-off for the presidency, is the most outspoken admirer of Putin among the top five candidates.

Le Pen is expected to easily make it to the second round of voting on 7 May, as she is now neck-and-neck in first round voting intentions with centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron.

Over the years, Putin has frequently met with Fillon, the French prime minister from 2007-2012. But Putin dismissed those claims. Fillon also called it a "shameful lie". French law doesn't bar foreigners from contributing in its political campaigns.

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Le Pen has visited Moscow on several occasions, enjoying positive Russian state media coverage.

Le Pen is also facing legal investigations around party finances.

Le Pen's trip to Moscow and particularly her surprise meeting with Putin has stoked fears of Russian Federation attempting to influence the outcome of France's presidential election, the first round of which is now just a month away. "I think it's unfair and even stupid", the French politician said.

The news of the surprise visit was broken by state-sponsored television network Russia Today. It's unclear if they have any impact on a broader French audience. While increasingly popular in France, she has struggled to get any backing overseas apart from support offered by other far-right parties.

He added, however, that Russian influence via social media networks could be more hard to measure.

Macron's cybersecurity chief Mounir Mahjoubi told The Associated Press at the time that his campaign website was briefly knocked offline but that hackers had failed to "open the door" to its databases. "This is a war crime", she said.

RT Francais, a Kremlin-funded news agency, reported on Friday that Russian Federation could help Le Pen to defend French people against terrorists and migrants.

Le Pen isn't the only candidate who has taken Russian cash.

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