A TV documentary has been broadcasted in France portraying the activities of the administration of president Emanuel Macron amid the threat of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. This televised report constitutes an interesting pretext to the analysis of the Elysée Palace’s policy on Russia.
In the below commentary we analyze said documentary, including the record of a telephone call between E. Macron and his Russian counterpart V.Putin. Note, in particular, that this is an analysis of a material that was created upon the consent and with the approval of the administration of the French president, one that the highest authorities of France wanted and intended to share with the world.
Consent to the occupation of Ukraine
After watching the documentary, a question arises whether France has come to terms with the initial Russian aggression against Ukraine. Although Russia started its invasion of Ukraine in 2014, the exchange of words between Putin and Macron as well as the rest of the analyzed documentary suggest that Paris has condoned the state of aggression and occupation from eight years ago.
The message conveyed by the analyzed documentary suggests that according to the French president both sides of the war take equal responsibility for the escalation of the situation and the rising threats. And so a narrative emerges that implies that Russia – an aggressor that has been waging war since 2014 – and Ukraine – a victim of that aggression and the stricken nation, are equally to blame for the current state of affairs.
As a result, the responsibility of the only aggressor here – Russia – is blurred. What is more, during the call with Putin, Macron asks his Russian counterpart not to “succumb to provocations.” All this happens amid an intense buildup of the Russian troops along the border with Ukraine ahead of the 24th February, 2022 attack.
E. Macron also suggests that behind the Russian aggression against other European countries are… errors made by NATO. The French president criticizes the Alliance for the lack of dialogue with Russia and for the mistrust between the West and Russia that has mounted over the years and come unresolved.
Consent to the Russian lies
The French reporter that accompanies president Macron throughout the report shows on a number of shots that the officials of the administration of the French president are fully aware that V. Putin is lying or being insincere.
This also clearly means that the head of the French state knows that his Russian counterpart is deceiving him. Still, Macron tries to conduct a dialogue with the Kremlin at all cost, as if he believed that he was able to talk Putin out of invading Ukraine. It is hard to say whether the French president knew that he could make some arrangements with his Russian counterpart or not given that he was aware that Putin was playing with him, but if he did then on what grounds?
Consent to anti-Ukrainian smear campaign
As shown in the documentary, the Russian president takes the advantage of the telephone call with the president of France to denigrate Ukraine and the Ukrainian authorities. Putin reiterates lies about “2014 coup d’état” or “the genocide” reportedly committed by Ukrainians.
Russia has been pushing these false narratives since 2014. Today they constitute the founding lies of the Russian war in Ukraine. Unfortunately, the documentary does not capture any negative reaction of president Macron to these slanderous remarks.
Said televised report also highlights the political naivety of the French president in his talks with V. Putin. Paris knows that it is being lied to, but at the same time it thinks there is a possibility to “make some arrangements” with Russia.
President Macron does not seem to see (or maybe he does see but accepts it) that he is being played by Russia. It draws from the analysis of Macron-Putin conversations that the latter attempts to divide NATO. Again, there are no signs of a response from the French leader.
What is more, the French strategy of holding talks with Russia by Macron himself is contrary to the Anglo-Saxon model. He tells the reporter in charge of the documentary that “the confrontational approach” of the British, among others, only leads to escalation and that the only solution is to conduct a step-by-step dialog.
Above Ukraine’s head?
During his telephone call with president Putin, president Macron clearly attempts to obtain his interlocutor’s consent to arrange for a meeting with the leaders of the Western world. Macron suggests a meeting with the US president followed by a meeting with the heads of most important EU member states. On the agenda of the meeting – the future situation of Ukraine.
This part of the documentary suggests that France acknowledges that further decisions on the fate of the Minsk agreements and on the future situation of occupied Ukrainian territories could be made without the participation of Kyiv. If that happened, France would legitimize the return to a concert of powers and allow for the creation by Russia of its sphere of influence in Central and Eastern Europe.
Some arguments used by president Macron show that he does not seem to identify the differences in political civilization between Russia and the West. During said conversation, he referred to the legal assessment of the position presented by Russia with the following words: „I do not know where your lawyer learned law”.
The difference is that Russia has been trampling on rules and international law for many years and does not care about any outside opinions. It seems that the president of France is not able to grasp it, which is evidenced by his adherence to the principles and rules that mean nothing to Russia.
The analyzed documentary allows to capture the sense of the Elysée Palace’s policy on Russia. It is highly naïve, it accepts Russia’s disrespect of international rules, but most of all – it shows to what extent the French leader is unaware of the reality of the Russian state.
The televised report the Macron administration wanted to share and shared with the world only testifies to its inability to talk with a brutal and cynical politician whom Putin is.
It seems that the documentary was meant to show that the French president’s repeated telephone calls with his Russian counterpart are the right thing to do, but instead, it showed that these activities are inefficient, naïve and erroneous.
Author: Tadeusz Kania.