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THREAD 1/8 #Macron’s warm welcome of #Putin in southern France this week may have looked surprising to those who have been protesting against the Kremlin in Moscow in recent weeks. But Macron has his own agenda, explains @baunov. carnegie.ru/commentary/797…
2/8 The West has got used to protests in Moscow fizzling out, and so far, the protests are at a regional level. In any case, after 20 years at the helm, Putin and his government are the only authorities the international arena knows.
3/8 What Europe definitely doesn’t want to see in its giant neighbor is a loss of control. So its approach is to remind #Russia of its obligation to uphold civil rights by reminding it of its European identity & mission, hence Macron’s comments that Russia is a European country.
4/8 From a strategic standpoint, European governments don’t want to fully lose Russia to Asia. They don’t want a Finnish-Chinese border — once the subject of a Soviet-era joke — to become a political and economic reality.
5/8 Trying to exclude Russia from the game altogether will make it start playing its own game, the rules of which will be unpredictable. So it’s better to include it in the game wherever possible, and this is what Europe is trying to do on Iran, climate change and other issues.
6/8 Sarkozy brokered an end to the Russia-Georgia war, Hollande was key to the Minsk agreements. Macron has every incentive to work toward a resolution to the Ukraine conflict, and the new Ukrainian government creates a favorable context for peace efforts.
7/8 As host of the upcoming G7 summit, Macron wants to bring some exclusive content to it, and his meeting with could provide just that. Russia’s return to the G7 is impossible, but it’s also impossible for the group to solve many problems important to it without Russia.
8/8 France’s relationship of trust with the Russian leadership, and the opportunity to represent Russia behind the scenes at the G7 gatherings, are an important diplomatic asset that France would hate to lose. carnegie.ru/commentary/797…
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