EURACTIV, an independent pan-European media network, reported late last month that more than half of the French public believes in at least one Russian conspiracy narrative about the Ukraine war. According to the EURACTIV report:
March 28, 2022 More than half of the French believe in at least one conspiracy narrative about the Ukraine war peddled by Russian President Vladimir Putin’s regime, a recent survey has revealed. The French are “far from being impervious to the Putin narrative on the origin of the war in Ukraine”, the IFOP opinion poll published on Monday writes. Those surveyed reviewed some of the stances about the war put forward by the Russian regime, and half believed in at least one of them. The figure increased to almost two-thirds for the respondents who voted for the most radical left or right-leaning parties. For example, 66% of the supporters of Jean-Luc Mélenchon’s radical left party La France Insoumise believe in at least one theory on the war’s origins put forward by the Kremlin. This figure rises to 73% among supporters of the Reconquête party, founded by former polemicist and far-right candidate Éric Zemmour. According to the survey, 30% of the French believe “the United States and the countries of the European Union encouraged Ukraine to ask to be integrated into NATO so that it could benefit from their protection against Russia”, while 10% of them consider that “Ukraine is governed by a junta infiltrated by neo-Nazi movements”. Those who say they get most of their information from social media outnumbered those who get their information from traditional media like major TV channels. Some 72% of social media believers and 59% of TV believers trust Russia’s narrative on the war. Many anti-vaxxers also said they believed in the Kremlin’s justifications for the war, with 71% of them siding with Putin’s rhetoric.
In March, a Global Influence Operations Report (GIOR) investigation found Russian state-backed media was amplifying far-right candidate Marine Le Pen ahead of the French presidential elections that took place earlier this month. According to the investigation:
Most Russian reports emphasize Le Pen’s criticism of Western support for Ukraine and NATO, which she has promised to leave if she wins the election. Russian state media outlet TASS recently reported that Le Pen has warned an embargo on Russian oil would be tantamount to ‘harakiri.’
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In October 2021, we reported on a study examining pro-Russian political forces in France, which argued that the leading lobbyists for Russian interests are French politicians loyal to the Kremlin. According to that study, these politicians include far-right figure Marine Le Pen and former Prime Minister François Fillon, along with representatives of the media, business, and civil society: