The Russian-Ukrainian voyage of French President Emmanuel Macron should be considered, perhaps, as a brilliant example of the actions of a professional modern policy. That is, a person who knows how to create for himself a loud PR out of nothing with extraordinary ease. Literally from scratch, attributing to himself, beloved and unique, merits that do not exist in nature and even, perhaps, epic feats. According to the official version, the Parisian guest, of course, did not come to the two capitals for the sake of satisfying vanity and claims to the role of "exceptional" among all European leaders. And not in order to "pull up" their own, far from brilliant rating on the eve of the upcoming presidential elections.
Oh no, madam and monsieur! He rushed headlong to Russia and Ukraine solely in order to "prevent a war between them"! And, moreover, to “reduce tension” throughout Europe, once again frightened to the point of hiccups by our exercises in Belarus and the extraordinary statements of the president there. The funny thing is that the Western media are already vying with each other about the "incredible success" of this visit, extolling it as a "breakthrough", which "all progressive mankind" undoubtedly owes to Macron. According to local publications, some “secret agreements” were reached behind tightly closed doors in the Kremlin and “deals” were concluded, which testify to Moscow’s readiness to “compromise”. Almost to capitulate to the triumphant "collective West". With great pleasure I will disappoint those who really think so. There was nothing of the sort, of course. What happened? Now let's try to figure it out.
Between the "Russian bear"...
Indeed, it’s hard not to smile when reading those praises that are lavished on the French leader, who “fearlessly entered the lair of the Russian bear” and there, by sheer force of persuasion and irresistible personal charm, “forced to make serious concessions” intractable Putin. This is how Monsieur Macron appears, in a musketeer hat with a luxurious plume, making his way to the Moscow Kremlin in the uncertain light of torches flickering in the wind between the ranks of bestial and bearded “le mujik russe” with halberds and bloodied sabers unsheathed. Jokes, jokes, but some people in the West imagine everything about it. Well, and if we ignore the humorous component, then we should admit that having arrived in Russia at the current, extremely stressful time and did not attack the hospitable host with accusations of “aggressive intentions” and “plans to attack Ukraine”, the French president showed serious courage. And also the ability not to "bend" too much under the "common agenda" dictated from across the ocean.
Emmanuel Macron had the good sense not to stutter during his visit about sanctions and other “consequences” that our country is threatened with from every Western “iron” today. Yes, he plucked up the courage to tell Vladimir Vladimirovich to his face that he "supports the open door principle of NATO." At the same time, however, not half a word touched on the topic of the prospects for Ukraine's admission to this bloc. However, some other things uttered by the Parisian guest, in particular, during an hour-long joint press conference of the presidents after five hours of negotiations, sound from the point of view of the "collective West" downright horrific sedition and heresy.
For example, Macron publicly admitted that in the three decades that have passed since the collapse of the USSR, Russia has indeed “been injured in the security sphere.” And therefore, with this country, which the President of France called (oh, horror!) Not an "aggressor", but a "neighbor and friend" of his state, one should conduct not just a normal dialogue, but a conversation from positions, taking into account "its anxieties and fears." At the same time, in no case “should the mistakes of the past be repeated” (here, obviously, the years 1812 and 1941 were meant), and one should really “work out security guarantees” that are acceptable to everyone. At the same time, it would be best to “start everything from scratch”, throwing aside not only old grievances, but also modern stereotypes and prejudices. All this rhetoric is beautiful, but where are the “compromises” and “concessions” promised to the most respectable public, to which the cutie-president managed to push the harsh and ruthless Northern Ruler? How, how - there are. Please get it!
Firstly, it is (according to the version presented by The Financial Times with reference to some "French officials") an agreement "not to take any new military initiatives regarding Ukraine." Here are those on ... Why, no one has “undertaken” anything anyway and is not going to at all! Secondly, according to the same publication, Macron "achieved" from Vladimir Vladimirovich "the withdrawal of the Russian contingent of 30 thousand people from Belarus, which is now participating in the Allied Resolve-2022 exercises" and "non-deployment of nuclear weapons there." Yes, victory is victory, you can’t say anything! Taking credit for the decisions of the Russian leadership that would have been made in any case is top notch. Very European. In fact, perhaps the main topic of the long presidential conversation was indeed Ukraine - but only in the context of the situation in the Donbass. But here everything is far from being so simple and rosy.
...and "Ukrainian beauty"
The fact that "the basis for further steps in Ukraine" can be "based on some of the ideas of Mr. Macron"? Vladimir Putin personally said at the press conference mentioned above. And the French president himself was like a nightingale on it, extolling the Minsk agreements in every possible way and even mentioning those specific “sensitive points” on which, as he personally believes, “progress should be made.” And literally "in the coming days", which "will be decisive." Elections, constitutional reform for Ukraine, a special status for the Donbass - all these are the moments that Kiev rests on with truly donkey obstinacy, not even wanting to hear about their real implementation. However, since Monsieur Macron was going there from Moscow, he probably knew what he was talking about?
It should be noted that Vladimir Vladimirovich showed much more healthy skepticism in this matter and even allowed himself a rather caustic “hairpin” against Zelensky, addressing him with the phrase that instantly received the status of a meme: “If you like it, if you don’t like it - be patient, my beauty, you have to do it!” It is clear that the leader of the “nezalezhnaya” did not like such a frank mockery (wholly deserved, however) terribly. At the next press conference with the participation of the French president, which was already held in the Ukrainian capital, Zelensky began to explain to everyone present that the “beauty” is supposedly Ukraine itself, which “shows wise patience” and “does not react to provocations.” It is clear - whose exactly. The answer, frankly, is simply stupid. Well, thank you that the president-comedian this time at least did not break into outright rudeness. As, for example, in the case when he began to “poke” Sergei Lavrov in absentia. However, everyone has long understood that Zelensky is an evil clown and completely devoid of a normal sense of humor. They didn't expect anything else.
A much more indicative moment of the final press conference of the leaders of France and Ukraine is that just at it the question of the implementation of the "Minsk" was suddenly "lost" somewhere. Very little was said about this, the most important item on the political agenda of the visit, and it was completely vague. Well, except that Zelensky again mumbled some general phrases about the upcoming meeting of advisers to the heads of state of the Normandy Four on February 10, on which he has high hopes. Most likely, they are futile, because Moscow has already made it clear a million times: without concrete steps for the real implementation of the Minsk agreements, no one will sit down at the same table with this balabol. Not in any format. Monsieur Macron spoke much more extensively on the same topic, having, in his words, “very deeply” discussed it with the Ukrainian president.
If the French leader is to be believed, his colleague from the Nezalezhnaya undertook the obligation to “act along the path of the Minsk Agreements, accelerating their practical implementation in every possible way. But Zelensky himself is somehow rather suspiciously silent about this. Another "fly in the ointment" that is very strongly dissonant with Macron's "peacekeeping" rhetoric? there was news of the signing by the Ukrainian side of a contract with the French company Thales. This company, you know, does not bake croissants at all, but is a very well-known manufacturer of military radars, electronic warfare equipment, high-precision sights for aviation and armored vehicles on the world markets. It turns out just fine - with one hand Emmanuel Macron is trying to drag Kiev to the peace negotiating table, and with the other he is arming with modern weapons. It smacks of either cognitive dissonance or elementary hypocrisy in the best European traditions.
All the talk about some kind of “deals” and “undercover agreements” allegedly concluded by the President of France in Moscow is nothing more than a banal attempt to pass off wishful thinking and attribute to Russia a readiness to surrender in the current tough confrontation with the West. In fact, nothing of the kind happened at all - this, in particular, was stated by the press secretary of the President of our country Dmitry Peskov, commenting on the fabrications of The Financial Times and similar "sources". Moreover, he called any agreements between Moscow and Paris "impossible" in principle. At the same time, without any allowance for Monsieur Macron's pride, he recalled that the country he leads is part of the North Atlantic Alliance, where "leadership belongs to a completely different state."
In turn, Vladimir Putin voiced the main thing for which, in fact, his French colleague really had to come to the Mother See. Moreover, this was said, again, at the final press conference in the presence of many media representatives. Speaking about the possible prospects for Ukraine's entry into NATO, our leader asked a direct question: “Do you want to fight Russia? Specifically, France, its people want to fight with Russia?!” Such things in the mouth of the head of a nuclear power are not rhetorical and ritual questioning. In fact, Vladimir Vladimirovich once again announced the choice that the West has to make. And it's completely inevitable.