An Estranged ‘Marriage of Convenience’: Salvini, Putin, and the Intricacies of Italian-Russian Relations

06 Jan 2020

(Contemporary Italian Politics) (Co-authored with George Spencer Terry) Abstract: This article seeks to tackle two interrelated issues. First, it explains the nature of the mutual affection of the right wing of Italian politics – exemplified by the Lega – and the Kremlin. Concomitantly, we explore the reasons behind the Lega’s predilection for Putin’s regime, seeing it as part of this party’s public strategy, and look at the factors behind Russia’s reciprocal – though limited and contextual – sympathies towards Salvini and his associates. Second, we explore the practical consequences of this structurally asymmetrical relationship between the Lega and the Kremlin. In particular, we find an explanation for a lack of palpable results of the mutual attraction – much stronger on the part of Rome than on the part of Moscow – when it comes to the core issue of practical relevance, namely, lifting the EU’s sanctions against Russia as a response to the annexation of Crimea in 2014 and the ongoing war in the Donbas. [...]

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