RussiaOctober 25 2022, 15:02 pm

Silvio Berlusconi Exchanged Gifts and “Sweet Letters” with Vladimir Putin.

Glob­al media is report­ing that Ital­ian politi­cian Sil­vio Berlus­coni has exchanged gifts and “sweet let­ters” with Russ­ian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin. Accord­ing to an NBC news report:

Octo­ber 19, 2022 ROME — Sil­vio Berlus­coni, the for­mer Ital­ian leader who recent­ly returned to front-line pol­i­tics, has recon­nect­ed with his old friend Russ­ian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin with an exchange of gifts and “sweet” let­ters over his recent birth­day. Berlus­coni, a cru­cial king­mak­er for a right-wing coali­tion that is seek­ing to form a gov­ern­ment after hav­ing pledged to back Ukraine, was record­ed boast­ing that the pair recent­ly got back in touch. The com­ments prompt­ed back­lash from Brus­sels and from the woman set to be Italy’s next leader, who pledged her gov­ern­ment would back Ukraine in a thin­ly veiled rebuke of Berlus­coni. “I recon­nect­ed with Pres­i­dent Putin — a lit­tle bit, well a lot,” Berlus­coni, 86, report­ed­ly said in a con­ver­sa­tion with law­mak­ers from his cen­ter-right Forza Italia par­ty, accord­ing to Italy’s LaPresse news agency, which pub­lished the com­ments. “For my birth­day he sent me 20 bot­tles of vod­ka and a very sweet let­ter,” he said, adding that he respond­ed by send­ing bot­tles of the Ital­ian wine Lam­br­us­co “and a let­ter just as sweet.” “I have been declared by him as the first of his five real friends,” he said.

Read the rest here.

The Glob­al Influ­ence Oper­a­tions Report recent­ly report­ed in June that a com­plex pro-Russ­ian net­work is try­ing to influ­ence pub­lic opin­ion in Italy, iden­ti­fy­ing some of the most impor­tant pro-Russ­ian fig­ures in the coun­try. Oth­er GIOR report­ing on Rus­si­a’s influ­ence in Italy has included:

  • In May, we report­ed that pro-Russ­ian media cov­er­age in Italy had trig­gered the launch of a par­lia­men­tary inquiry to inves­ti­gate whether some Russ­ian com­men­ta­tors appear­ing on Ital­ian TV net­works could be on Putin’s payroll.
  • In March, we report­ed on leaked emails and doc­u­ments show­ing how Russ­ian influ­ence group Tsar­grad is coop­er­at­ing with Mat­teo Salvi­ni, the for­mer Ital­ian deputy prime min­is­ter, inte­ri­or min­is­ter, and cur­rent leader of the far-right Lega party.
  • In Feb­ru­ary, we report­ed that Mat­teo Ren­zi, for­mer prime min­is­ter of Italy,  had resigned from the board of Rus­si­a’s largest car-shar­ing ser­vice fol­low­ing Rus­si­a’s inva­sion of Ukraine.


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