Putin’s victory’ in fall of government in Italy

Italy is in political turmoil again. Three coalition parties, the Five Star Movement, Forza Italia and the League, withdrew support from Italy’s ruling National Accord government last Thursday.

The government collapsed.
After the fall of the government, the date of the general election in Italy has been announced on September 25. Until then, the caretaker government will have to deal with the growing energy crisis in the country, inflation, the new wave of Corona and the deepening geopolitical conflict between the European Union and Russia due to the war in Ukraine.

In addition, the Draghi government received an allocation of 214 billion dollars of financial support from the European Union’s post-pandemic recovery fund (Next Generation Fund). There are fears that there may be a delay in getting the money due to the collapse of the government.

Italy is going to be in trouble with the ongoing gas crisis in Europe. After Russia’s attack on Ukraine last February, Draghi’s government sought alternative sources to reduce dependence on Moscow for gas. Additional supplies of gas from Algeria began arriving in Italy. This gas was supposed to be supplied further north via Italy to Germany. But without Draghi, the future of Italy’s energy is now in question.

Some analysts believe that Mario Draghi’s fall, leaving Italy in crisis, is a big win for Russian President Vladimir Putin. Draghi has played a major role in the rush of Putin’s influence in Italy and Europe. On the other hand, Putin has received great support from the three leaders of the coalition government led by him in the past because of the political crisis in Italy today.
One of the three who did not support Draghi was the head of the Five Star Movement, Giuseppe Conte. In 2018, Conte called for Russia’s return to the G-8 alliance of industrialized nations. He even spoke in favor of lifting sanctions on Russia. Conte has had close ties with Moscow since Ukraine’s 2014 annexation of the Crimean peninsula.

League leader Matteo Salvini’s support for Putin is no slouch either. In 2017, the league signed a formal cooperation agreement with Putin’s political party, the United Russia Party, under his leadership. Later in 2019, some media reported that the league made the deal to take money from Russia. Salvini and Putin’s close associates were involved in this. The international judicial investigation of that corruption is going on.

Silvio Berlusconi, the head of Forza Italy, is a long-time friend of Putin, not backing Draghi. The two have previously met at their vacation homes. When Berlusconi was prime minister of Italy in the early decades of this century, he was a close ally of Putin. The two leaders even have joint commercial interests.

Forza Italy leader Matteo Salvini’s statement on the matter after Russia’s attack on Ukraine was also vague. He condemned “all military aggression” without directly blaming Russia for the attack. Later, however, faced with criticism, he was forced to admit, “Russia made a mistake”. Yet Putin’s name has rarely been linked to the attack. A month and a half after the attack in Ukraine, he said, “He is deeply saddened and disappointed by the behavior of Vladimir Putin.”

Conte made a clear statement condemning the Russian attack. However, he opposed sending more arms aid from Italy to Ukraine. Many Italians feel the same way. Many analysts believe Kant’s opposition is indicative of his support for Russia.