France’s far-right National Front party has asked Russia for a €27 million loan to help finance its 2017 election campaigns, The Times reported on Friday, citing the party’s treasurer, Wallerand de Saint-Just.
In 2014, the National Front, led by Marine Le Pen, received an €11 million loan from a bank with Russian ties. At the time, French media claimed that the loan bought the party’s support for Russia’s actions in Ukraine.
Le Pen’s party claims that the results of the Crimean referendum in 2014 were legitimate, as was the annexation of the peninsula by the Russian Federation. The far-right party has also opposed the sanctions imposed by the EU against Russia for its actions in Ukraine. According to The Independent, Marine Le Pen has described Vladimir Putin as a “defender of the Christian heritage of European civilization.”
The National Front’s platform includes economic protectionism, Euroscepticism, a zero tolerance approach to law and order issues, and staunch opposition to immigration. As of last year, the party has established itself as one of the main political forces in France.