What did Macron's visit to Moscow achieve?
Russia's President Putin and his French counterpart Macron discussed the Ukraine crisis for six hours during the latter's visit to Moscow on Monday. Although no concrete results were achieved, Putin described the conversation as useful. Macron noted that there was much work to be done but that there were also issues on which the two see eye to eye. Europe's press is unimpressed.
Psychology won't solve the problem
As laudable as it may be, Macron's commitment is based on a misconception, La Repubblica argues:
“Macron believes - as he announced in an interview with Le Journal du Dimanche - that he is the only one who has understood the current 'traumas' of the 'great Russian nation'. The fact is, however, that these traumas are rather obvious, namely having lost the Cold War and with it the former sphere of influence in the former Soviet space. What is not clear is the solution: if Russia, like all countries, has legitimate security interests, how can they be recognised without giving in to blackmail through the use of force and without sacrificing essential principles such as the integrity and sovereignty of the states that lie between Russia and Europe?”
Playing the role of peacekeeper
Macron's visit to the Kremlin was all about campaign tactics, Ria Novosti is convinced:
“Macron flew to Moscow just as the hype about an 'imminent Russian invasion of Ukraine' reached the peak of insanity. True, the French president does not believe that Russian tanks are about to start rolling into Kyiv. And not because of his three phone conversations with Putin in the last few days. It simply makes no sense for him to join in the show being staged by the Anglo-Saxons. However, he has nothing against taking advantage of the current situation - for France or for himself. The presidential elections are two months away - and a successful trip to Moscow and any effort to prevent 'war in Europe' will help get Macron re-elected.”
This plan could backfire
For De Telegraaf too, the visit was tainted by election campaign tactics:
“Macron sitting at Putin's table could be useful in terms of helping to get him re-elected in April. While his challengers only have audiences of a few thousand he can show that he plays an important role on the international stage. But if the mediation efforts fail, he will feel the effects for the rest of the campaign. The unpredictable Putin knows all too well that he can use this to influence the election. So it is possible that the French head of state is above all hoping for a delay: just stay put until the second round is over on 24 April.”