Anton Shekhovtsov: Russia and Front National: Following the Money

According to the leaked messages, on 10 March 2014, a week before the “referendum” in Russia-occupied Crimea, Prokopenko asked whether Rykov could bring Marine Le Pen as a “referendum” observer to Crimea, adding that her prospective participation would be important and that he informed his boss, Oleg Morozov, that Rykov was in contact with her. Rykov promised to find out.

Rykov replied the next day saying that Le Pen was on tour campaigning for her party’s municipal elections, so she was unlikely to go, but one of her deputies could go in her stead. Prokopenko seemed happy about this development and said that someone from Russia’s Foreign Ministry would call Le Pen. Then Rykov added that the Danes supported “them” (Russia) too, but it was difficult for Rykov to communicate with them as he did not know the Danish language.

These communications correspond well to the developments in March 2014. Le Pen did not indeed go to Crimea, but her contemporary adviser on international relations, Aymeric Chauprade, went to observe the “referendum”. The French newspaper Libération informed, with a reference to Chauprade’s entourage, that he had been invited to monitor the “referendum” by the Eurasian Observatory for Democracy & Elections (EODE), a Belgium-based NGO run by Belgian extreme right activist Luc Michel. . . .