Tied as far as
the invasion of the Russian army into Ukraine with the manu military occupation of the self-proclaimed separatist republics of Donetsk and Luhansk rekindles the spotlight on an age-old question of Italian politics. And that is on the official agreement, black and white, which twins the League, a key party of the Draghi government with an important institutional history, to the personal party of Vladimir Putin United Russia.
In light of a new, glaring violation of international law by the Kremlin, and in the aftermath of a revisionist speech by Putin on the return of the Soviet Union that will be consigned to the history books, it is questionable whether and how that memorandum is compatible. with a party fully inserted in the Italian constitutional arc.
Let’s go in order. It was March 6, 2017 when, one year after the political elections, the secretary Matteo Salvini on a visit to Moscow signed the agreement between the two parties, lasting five years. Present for the Russian counterpart was Deputy Secretary General of the Council for International Relations Sergei Zhelezniak . The meeting was then favored by Gianluca Savoini , a fixer of the Carroccio who later became the protagonist in the affair (including judicial) of the Hotel Metropol. The document, revealed in the book “From Pontida to Moscow. The agreements between Putin and the Northern League ”written by Fabio Sapettini and Andrea Tabacchini(ed. Samovar), is not limited to political collaboration but hopes for an “equal and confidential partnership between the Russian Federation and the Italian Republic”.
In article 1 the most delicate passage: “The parties will consult and exchange information on current issues of the situation in the Russian Federation and in the Italian Republic, on bilateral and international relations, on the exchange of experiences in the sphere of party structure, organized work, youth policies, economic development, as well as in other fields of mutual interest ”.
When Salvini took a step towards Palazzo Chigi together with the Five Star Movement four years ago, thanks to his collection at the polls, more than one voice from the world of intelligence expressed concern about the “exchange of information” in progress between the League and the party of the Russian president. We even come to question the opportunity to grant the Nos – Nulla Osta di Sicurezza – to a Minister of the Interior at the head of a political force so closely linked with the Russian party-government.
Four years later, water has passed under the bridge. The League can claim an important process of evolution and foreign policy is no exception. In Brussels, the Northern League patrol led by Marco Zanni expresses solidarity with the jailed Russian dissident Alexei Navalnyand in Rome the parliamentarians are united with the majority on the Ukrainian crisis.
In Moscow, however, very little water has passed. Putin still argues, as in 2017, that Ukraine has no right to sovereignty. And Zhelezniak, the great Russian officiant of the Northern League agreement, and still under EU and US sanctions, as in 2017, accused of having had a part in the armed occupation of Crimea in 2014 and of having “actively supported the use of the Russian Armed Forces in Ukraine ”.
The point here is above all political. While Russian tanks parade in Donetsk and Luhansk and an army of 190,000 soldiers threaten to invade Ukraine on Putin’s orders, that agreement signed with the personal party of the “Tsar” – reinforced by a twinning at the end of 2018 between their respective youth movements – starts to get cumbersome.
There is just over two weeks left for the possible renewal of the agreement. It is not so little, considering the events of these hours. After an initial silence, Salvini chose the line of prudence. Of course, he says he “does not approve an invasion of someone else’s house” but he still maintains, as he has been doing for some time, that sanctions “are the last of the possible solutions”.
A party and its secretary have every right to choose the political line. As well as remembering the economic costs that a break with Moscow would have for Italy, especially in the energy sector. But there is something more subtle at stake here than gas supplies. A political twinning with Putin’s party which in these hours threatens to end the League offside with history. Verba volant, scripta manent. Salvini gets away with letting the agreement expire in silence, or he will choose the path of the leader by taking a clear position

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