RussiaOctober 31 2022, 11:30 am

New Italian National Conservative Prime Minister- Can Giorgia Meloni’s Stance on Russia be Trusted?

Reuters has report­ed on recent remarks by Gior­gia Mel­oni, the new far-right Ital­ian Prime Min­is­ter, in which she vowed to con­tin­ue sup­port for Ukraine and the EU sanc­tions against Rus­sia over its inva­sion. Despite these remarks, Mel­oni’s rightwing coali­tion part­ners and her lead­ing posi­tion in the Glob­al Nation­al Con­ser­v­a­tive Alliance (GNCA) cast a shad­ow on her stance towards Rus­sia. Glob­al media is wide­ly report­ing that Mel­oni had harsh­ly rebuked poten­tial coali­tion part­ner Sil­vio Berlus­coni fol­low­ing rev­e­la­tions that Berlus­coni had “exchanged gifts and “sweet let­ters” with Russ­ian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin. Accord­ing to a France24 report:

Octo­ber 19, 2022 Gior­gia Mel­oni, Italy’s like­li­est next leader, was said to be shocked and livid at the lat­est gaffe by the man long known as the Cav­a­liere (the Knight), slip­ping out of par­lia­ment by a back­door on Tues­day evening to avoid the press. As Gian­ni­ni said, Berlusconi’s lat­est blus­ter “shat­tered the already frag­ile pro-NATO and Europhile equi­lib­ri­ums that the leader of Broth­ers of Italy was strug­gling to guar­an­tee”. Break­ing a day­long silence, Mel­oni issued a state­ment late on Wednes­day insist­ing that she would lead a gov­ern­ment with a clear for­eign pol­i­cy.“ Italy, with its head high, is part of Europe and the Atlantic alliance,” she said. “Who­ev­er does­n’t agree with this cor­ner­stone can­not be part of the gov­ern­ment, at the cost of not hav­ing a government.

The Glob­al Influ­ence Oper­a­tions Report (GIOR) report­ed last week on Berlus­coni’s com­ments, and since then, Ital­ian media out­let LaPresse released even more of the record­ing, in which Berlus­coni defends Putin’s aim to remove the gov­ern­ment of Volodymyr Zelen­skyy in Kyiv and replace it with a “decent, sen­si­ble” admin­is­tra­tion. How­ev­er, fol­low­ing Mel­oni’s rebuke, the two met at her par­ty’s head­quar­ters and issued a joint state­ment in which they pledged to take part in a con­sul­ta­tion aimed at form­ing a rightwing coali­tion gov­ern­ment. Short­ly after, it was report­ed that Mel­oni had accept­ed the job of form­ing a new gov­ern­ment that would include Mat­teo Salvini’s far-right Lega (Eng­lish: League) and the Forza Italia of Sil­vio Berlusconi.

Some­what over­looked in all the furor over Berlus­coni’s com­ments was the elec­tion of Loren­zo Fontana, a promi­nent mem­ber of Salvini’s Lega par­ty, as the speak­er of Italy’s cham­ber of deputies. Accord­ing to one report, Fontana is seen as anti-gay and pro-Russian:

Octo­ber 14, 2022 Loren­zo Fontana, a promi­nent mem­ber of Mat­teo Salvini’s right-wing Lega par­ty, was elect­ed speak­er of Italy’s cham­ber of deputies on Fri­day. Fontana, 42, was elect­ed in the fourth round of vot­ing, with 222 votes, ahead of the required major­i­ty of 197. A for­mer cab­i­net min­is­ter, Fontana is described as ultra-con­ser­v­a­tive and is accused of being anti-gay and pro-Rus­sia. Dur­ing the vote MPS from the cen­tre-left Par­ti­to Demo­c­ra­ti­co — includ­ing Alessan­dro Zan whose bill aimed at fight­ing homo­pho­bia was blocked by right-wing sen­a­tors last year — dis­played a ban­ner that read: “No to a homo­pho­bic, pro-Putin speak­er of the house”. Fontana’s elec­tion comes the day after Ignazio La Rus­sa, a found­ing mem­ber of the far-right Fratel­li d’I­talia (FdI), was elect­ed speak­er of the senate.

Accord­ing to the Ital­ian news site, Fontana is best known for sup­port­ing rightwing “cul­ture war themes,” includ­ing oppos­ing so-called “gen­der theories.”

Octo­ber 14, 2022 The issues on which he spends the most time in polit­i­cal bat­tles are fam­i­ly, birth rate and the fight against so-called gen­der the­o­ries. He has spo­ken out against abor­tion, civ­il unions and gay mar­riage. In the past, he has come out strong­ly against eco­nom­ic sanc­tions on Rus­sia, which he con­sid­ers a “mod­el” in eth­i­cal and social terms. He par­tic­i­pat­ed in events orga­nized by “Conoscere Eura­sia,” an asso­ci­a­tion led by Anto­nio Fal­li­co, hon­orary con­sul of the Russ­ian Fed­er­a­tion in Verona and pres­i­dent of Inte­sa San­pao­lo in Moscow. At the World Con­gress of Fam­i­lies, orga­nized in Verona in 2019 under the patron­age of the min­istry he heads, he had as guest of hon­or Alex­ey Komov work­ing for the foun­da­tion cre­at­ed by Kon­stan­tin Mal­ofeev, a Russ­ian oli­garch under sanc­tions. [Trans­lat­ed from Ital­ian buy DeepL with edits]

Read the rest here.

Mel­oni is also known for oppos­ing “gen­der ide­ol­o­gy” and oth­er sim­i­lar cul­ture war themes com­mon­ly espoused by rightwing/conservative West­ern ele­ments. As the BBC recent­ly report­ed:

A clue to her pri­or­i­ties came in a typ­i­cal­ly rau­cous speech she gave in Spain last June. “Yes to the nat­ur­al fam­i­ly, no to the LGBT lob­by, yes to sex­u­al iden­ti­ty, no to gen­der ide­ol­o­gy… no to Islamist vio­lence, yes to secure bor­ders, no to mass migra­tion… no to big inter­na­tion­al finance… no to the bureau­crats of Brus­sels!” In anoth­er well-quot­ed speech from 2019 she said: “I am Gior­gia, I’m a woman, I’m a moth­er… I’m Chris­t­ian.” For the role of Italy’s new fam­i­ly and birth rate min­is­ter, she has picked Euge­nia Roc­cel­la who has spo­ken out against abor­tion and threat­ened to reverse recent­ly agreed rights for same-sex parents.

GIOR report­ed last week that Russ­ian Pres­i­dent Vladamir Putin had once again deliv­ered a speech exten­sive­ly ref­er­enc­ing cul­ture war themes. A GIOR report on the Glob­al Nation­al Con­ser­v­a­tive Alliance (GNCA) doc­u­ment­ed Russ­ian Putin’s desire to become the ide­o­log­i­cal cen­ter of the GNCA,  cen­tered on nation­al sov­er­eign­ty, cul­tur­al iden­ti­ty, and oppo­si­tion to glob­al insti­tu­tions. That report iden­ti­fied Hun­gary as the cen­ter of that alliance:

Russ­ian Pres­i­dent PUTIN has expressed an inter­est in Rus­sia becom­ing the ide­o­log­i­cal cen­ter of a new glob­al con­ser­v­a­tive alliance, and Euro­pean far-right lead­ers have tak­en pro-Russ­ian posi­tions based on a sim­i­lar ide­ol­o­gy. Hun­gary is at the cen­ter of a devel­op­ing alliance between Euro­pean far-right nationalists and Amer­i­can con­ser­v­a­tives that Rus­sia could poten­tial­ly exploit for use in infor­ma­tion war­fare. This alliance oper­ates under the rubric of “Nation­al Con­ser­vatism,” cen­tered on nation­al sov­er­eign­ty, cul­tur­al iden­ti­ty, and oppo­si­tion to glob­al insti­tu­tions and rep­re­sent­ing a poten­tial­ly rad­i­cal change for the US con­ser­v­a­tive move­ment away from long-held Rea­gan-era philosophies

Read the full report here.

Oppo­si­tion to “gen­der ide­ol­o­gy” is a cen­tral issue for the GNCA and GIOR also report­ed last week on the role played by the Math­ias Corv­i­nus Col­legium (MCC), a Hun­gar­i­an edu­ca­tion facil­i­ty sup­port­ed by the Orban gov­ern­ment, in dis­sem­i­nat­ing Russ­ian-style anti-LGBTQ pro­pa­gan­da. Orban, and French far-right leader Marine Le Pen, both con­grat­u­lat­ed Mel­oni on her elec­tion vic­to­ry in Sep­tem­ber, and Hun­gar­i­an media has report­ed that oth­er lead­ing Hun­gar­i­an politi­cians also con­grat­u­lat­ed Mel­oni, who pledged her coop­er­a­tion with Hun­gary. These con­grat­u­la­tions includ­ed Hun­gar­i­an MPs who sin­gled out Mel­oni’s view of “fam­i­ly policy.”

Mel­oni her­self attend­ed the Feb­ru­ary 2020 Nation­al Con­ser­v­a­tive Con­fer­ence in Rome, an annu­al gath­er­ing of inter­na­tion­al Nation­al Con­ser­v­a­tive lead­ers. At that con­fer­ence, Mel­oni spoke about “God, Home­land, Fam­i­ly.” Mel­oni’s 2019 speech at the World Con­gress of Fam­i­lies con­fer­ence in Rome received high praise from lead­ing US con­ser­v­a­tives, includ­ing Sen. Ted Cruz (R Tex.), who declared it to be “spec­tac­u­lar,” and Rep. Mar­jorie Tay­lor Greene (R Ga.), who described it as “beau­ti­ful­ly said.” The World Con­gress of Fam­i­lies is a US-based rightwing Chris­t­ian group that has built an inter­na­tion­al net­work of anti-LGBTQ forces and oppos­es abor­tion and oth­er repro­duc­tive rights. It is known to have received fund­ing from Russ­ian oligarchs.


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