The importance of the French presidential election is demonstrated by the attention it receives even in the pro-Kremlin disinformation outlets in Central Europe. There has never been any doubt who has been the favourite candidate of these websites - Marine Le Pen, the far-right pro-Russian candidate. While mainstream media and Soros’s agents were supposedly panicking over the fact that Marine Le Pen got into the second round of the French presidential election, outlets reporting distorted and false facts just intensified their anti-Macron and pro-Len Pen narratives.

The second round of French election was depicted as the battle of the nationalist vs the supporter of globalization and as the choice between the “strong principles or a fragile hope without clear contours”. The fearless Marine standing up for her nation has been fighting against the “Rothschild’s’ golden boy”. Le Pen is supposed to have the vote of French police and the supporters of traditional family’. While strong Marine was getting more and more support and her preferences were rising, the Brussels swamp was panicking.

Disinformation outlets in Central Europe have been promoting RT's video of Marine Le Pen being welcomed by the workers of the Whirlpool factory in Amiens, while Emmanuel Macron was “booed and ‘chased out’” of his hometown when he visited the factory. Marine Le Pen was also depicted by pro-Kremlin outlets as the candidate who would stop migration, increase the border controls, close-down the mosques and fight terrorism – I will protect you promised Le Pen. Among other things, she would protect the French citizens also against the European Union and its dictate.

The Russian secret services’ Hungarian disinformation outlet reported on interview with Marine Le Pen, where she declared the euro to be a “dead” currency and it would only remain alive as a currency used by large companies and in international trade. Le Pen also declared she would hold a referendum on France’s EU membership in early 2018. The Hungarian article omitted to mention the potential economic turmoil getting rid of the euro would cause in France, including predictions that the value of the re-introduced franc could fall by 20% right after its introduction.

Emanuel Macron was presented in Central European pro-Kremlin outlets as a “puppet of Brussels and Berlin”. Macron’s possible victory in the French presidential election was labelled the “German occupation of France”. One Czech disinformation website had even called for the Czechs to pray for Marine Le Pen’s victory, because Macron’s victory would be Angela Merkel’s victory and she would become unstoppable. The outlets also reported that campaign against Le Pen was conducted by “61 French ‘pseudo-NGOs’ paid by George Soros and Brussels”.

Pro-Kremlin disinformation outlets in Central Europe have quoted and served as eco-chambers for Le Pen’s opinion on Macron, who was supposed to be “the candidate of the ‘financial world’ and of the establishment” and the “enemy of the people,” while Le Pen was supposed to be the “candidate of the France that awakes-up early.” Other websites spread Le Pen’s narratives of weak Emmanuel Macron being powerless against the “Islamic danger”. Macron was depicted as the candidate of global financial elites who is out of touch with the French people. He is also supposedly in the middle of the war of two financial groups- the Rockefellers versus the Rothschilds - to gain the control over the world.

Emmanuel Macron has been highly critical of Vladimir Putin and banned Russian state-funded outlets RT and Sputnik from his events. As the centrist, pro-EU and pro-democracy candidate he represents values and narratives directly countering those of pro-Kremlin websites in Central Europe.  

 

Edited by Katarína Klingová, GLOBSEC Policy Institute; Daniel Milo, senior fellow at GLOBSEC Policy Institute; Patrik Szicherle, Political Capital Institute. This document was published in the framework of projects run by the GLOBSEC Policy Institute and supported by the National Endowment for Democracy. ICT tool >versus<, developed by the Beacon Project of the International Republican Institute, was used by the researchers for data collection. 

©  GLOBSEC Policy Institute

The opinions stated in this report do not necessarily represent the position or views of the GLOBSEC Policy Institute or the National Endowment for Democracy. Responsibility for the information and views expressed therein lies entirely with the authors.