Globalbridge. Irina Dubois, the responsible director of the association “L’Association Dialogue Franco-Russe”, made an interview with Pierre de Gaulle, the grandson of General de Gaulle, shortly before Christmas. The subject of the interview was international relations between France and the EU on the one hand and Russia on the other. Pierre de Gaulle has no inhibitions about publicly pillorying the mendacity of the USA and NATO and the major European media and pointing out the economic problems in the EU that the Western sanctions against Russia will now lead to.
Irina Dubois: Good afternoon, Mr de Gaulle. Thank you very much for being with us today at the French-Russian Dialogue. You advise on corporate strategy and finance, you have 15 years of experience in managing private banks, and it is probably unnecessary to call to mind the great deeds of your grandfather General de Gaulle. It is 2022 and it is an unprecedented and very, very complex, difficult year for Franco-Russian relations. It is in some ways an anti-Russian year, I would say, not to mention politics. And yet, since September/October, there are more and more personalities, to put it mildly, who are in favour of normalising our Franco-Russian relations, and you are one of them. Why do you think it is so important for France not to separate from Russia?
Pierre de Gaulle: Good afternoon, Madame. Thank you for your welcome and for giving me the opportunity to speak in this House of Culture, which celebrates all that unites the French and Russian people through culture.
Of course, I think it is extremely important for France to maintain and promote a relationship of mutual understanding and cooperation with Russia. This is already due to the historical ties and the community of destiny that unites us, and also because maintaining and cultivating a good relationship with Russia is the guarantee for stability and prosperity in Europe and the world. The consequences of the current crisis are unfortunately affecting Europe, the world and also France. Everyone is suffering from this and the balance that my grandfather always tried to maintain, even in the most difficult times in history and during the Cold War and the Second World War, is being severely affected. Since Russia was one of the countries that, together with France, was on the side of the victors against the Nazi occupiers, my grandfather ever tried to always, always preserve this relationship with Russia.
I think it is in France’s interest to continue this policy and to preserve this balance because it is crucial for the stability of Europe. I think public opinion is starting to become aware of the perverse game and the lies of the Americans and especially NATO, who are using the Ukraine crisis to destabilise Europe. Europe, allied with Russia, forms a politically as well as economically, culturally and socially strong bloc of about 500 million people. The Americans, since the Vietnam War and since the economic crises that followed, which were linked in particular to the abandonment of the gold standard for the dollar, have always tried, by force, by cunning and by their policy, to compensate for this loss of influence both economically and politically, to redeem the loss of influence of the dollar as the only trading currency in the world. And this policy continues.
I am highly indignant and I protest against this intellectual dishonesty in the Ukraine crisis, because it is the Americans and NATO who have started the war. As proof, I would cite the recent statements by Mrs Merkel, who said that she never intended to implement the Minsk agreements – the Minsk agreements that were negotiated and signed to ensure the security, integrity and respect of the Russian-speaking population in the Donbass. The Germans and the French have formally vouched for these agreements for the balance, stability and protection of the population in this region.
Mrs Merkel, who said she never intended to implement the Minsk agreements, has thus done everything to allow NATO to arm Ukraine, has done everything to lay the foundations for this conflict, and I find that terrible because millions of people are suffering as a result.
By allowing this Ukrainian nationalist expansion, it has allowed 16,000 to 18,000 people to be bombed and killed [in the Donbass]. She has allowed these Ukrainian nationalist populations to destroy Russian culture, to erase their sense of belonging to Russia. It has deprived them of the possibility to speak their own language and, unfortunately, it has allowed these crimes to take root. In other words, one has knowingly contributed to this war and one has knowingly contributed to this escalation. Unfortunately, the US is continuing this military escalation, from which the Ukrainian population is the first to suffer, but also the rest of the European population.
The extent, the number and the depth of the sanctions show that this was all organised a very long time in advance and that it is in fact also an economic war from which the Americans benefit. The Americans are selling their gas four to seven times more expensive to the Europeans than they are doing for their own country, and unfortunately everyone in Europe is now suffering in their everyday lives because all this is leading to an economic and financial crisis that is absolutely unprecedented. Well, one will tell these people, “It’s the Russians’ fault!” It’s the Russians’ fault, very good ... But the Russians are defending themselves, because 11,000 sanctions have been imposed on them, plus a ninth package of sanctions that was adopted yesterday. It is perfectly legitimate and normal for the Russians to defend themselves.
I would say: we are currently in a model where the basic qualities of patriotism, love of the fatherland and defence of the people are considered abnormal. I think this is very serious, and I am glad that a number of politicians, intellectuals, economic representatives and elites are returning to considerations of balance, to a certain logic, to what has always been the history of relations between France and Russia, which is to preserve this balance, to preserve understanding, to preserve cooperation, to preserve the dialogue of civilisations, and I am thinking, with Christmas coming, of all that unites us for the future and for our community of destiny.
Therefore, for me, this need, this imperative to preserve a good relationship with Russia is not only perfectly legitimate, but a duty for Europe and stability in the world and in Europe.
Exactly, since you talk about stability, we talk a lot in the French-Russian dialogue about sovereignty, about the sovereignty of states. General de Gaulle’s famous formula “L’Europe des Nations” no longer exists. How can you build an independent international relationship in today’s globalised world?
So, as far as Europe is concerned, my grandfather Charles de Gaulle was indeed a proponent of a Europe of nations, meaning that each country would cooperate with the others in terms of a European Union, both economically and politically, but of course with a certain political autonomy and freedom of choice.
We are in a system that is about a technocracy that imposes directives that have to be implemented in each member state, a technocracy that is unfortunately extremely corrupt. People don’t talk about it now, but back when the President of the European Commission was appointed, after all, she left behind a mountain of debt of about 100 million euros in unexplained costs for employing external consultants and consultancies from the time when she was Germany’s Defence Minister.
These things are being kept quiet. There has also been a lot of talk about the European Commission President’s links with the pharmaceutical industry. I would like to remind you that her son works for an American biotechnology company and that recently, as far as the links between Mrs von der Leyen and the CEO of Pfizer are concerned, the CEO of Pfizer was asked twice to testify as a witness before the European Commission. Twice he has refused.
I would like to see a little more honesty and transparency at the level of the European Commission, which makes certain laws. They, who are not elected, have no respect for the word given. That, unfortunately, is where the evil lies. Today’s European leaders! I would like to see a little more transparency there.
Recently, in the Qatar affair, we saw money suitcases which, strangely enough, were in the flat of one of the Presidents of the European Parliament.
So, at a time when we are in the midst of a major crisis, a political crisis, an economic crisis, which again is perfectly wanted and deliberately orchestrated by the Americans and NATO, I would like to see once again more transparency and honesty in dialogue and, above all, respect for the word given. Once again, if Germany, France and the OSCE, which vouched for the Minsk Agreement, had kept their word, we would not be in the current situation.
The General [de Gaulle] always wanted, and you just said it too, to continue the relationship with Russia at all times. And in his war memoirs – just yesterday before our meeting today I read the extracts of his trip to Russia, in 1944, when he met Stalin – he wrote, and I take the liberty of quoting:
“I noted how much the fact that Russia and France had separated had influenced the unleashing of German ambitions. In view of the German danger, joint action by Russia and France was in the nature of things.”
The General considered the Franco-Russian relationship to be natural, a point he takes up and repeats several times in various excerpts from his memoirs.
I would like to ask you: do you think that Gaullism is still alive in France today? Who do you think these politicians are - if you want to name them? Where do you see something like a legacy of the General?
Look, I’m not going to take sides with any particular politician in France, except to say that I’m against the policies currently being practised by the President of the Republic and his government, especially with regard to relations with Russia. I think, as I have often said in interviews, that you cannot do “at the same time” with countries as strong, as independent and as important as Russia, China or even Algeria.1 That would mean not understanding Russian culture and not understanding the Russian mentality. It would also mean not respecting all the history, all the past and all the closeness of the relations one has had with Russia.
As for Gaullism, it is a heritage, an example, the ability to promote, above all, the greatness of France, of the nation and of the country, which are normal and fundamental values that are unfortunately frowned upon today.
Your president [Putin] just had a programme, I think it was called Basic Values or Basic Realities for Russian Youth, in which the fatherland, raising the flag and patriotic values and love for the nation were honoured. That was completely normal. I also grew up in such an environment.
In many countries like Algeria, like China, like the UK, or even the US, people celebrate the raising of the colours, the flag and the love for the fatherland. This is perfectly normal and is now being elevated to abnormality by a system that tends to dismantle essential values such as family, tradition and religion. Fortunately, in your country, President Putin upholds these values and I would like to see a political leader in France who also promotes these values and the greatness of France.
The legacy of General de Gaulle is indeed a certain idea of France. A France that is present on the international stage, but also a France that provides itself with the means for its policies. It is also the legacy of a charismatic leader with a vision, a real strategy and a republican legitimacy.
I think developing an independent international relationship means, of course, having the means for this policy, but also having this whole perspective of looking ahead to decisions, having a clear strategy, having a clear vision, having open messages, precise messages, having a real strategy for the French and for the people, because that is what these leaders represent, because they are at the service of the people. They are at the service of the nation, they are at the service of the fatherland, and they must promote and carry the values of their country in everything.
Unfortunately, I don’t see any emerging personalities in France taking up this torch, but my grandfather worked all his life for the greatness of France, he also left a legacy, and this legacy is in the hands of the French. It has been written by history and it is up to each and every one of us to continue this work and take up the torch.
Society in France is divided on the conflict in Ukraine: into groups of people who think that it doesn’t matter what Russia does, but they are against it because they think Russia is a dictatorship, a country that has nothing to do with the democratic values of Europe. There is another category who thinks that, after all, France’s economic interests are not in Ukraine and have nothing to do with this conflict. And then there are those who, I think, are simply indifferent to the conflict. And there is another group of people who really believe that it is about a clash of civilisations, something that goes beyond the war in Ukraine. You (Monsieur de Gaulle) mentioned this at the very beginning. Could you elaborate a little on this aspect?
This conflict has an impact on the world and on Europe. It was triggered by the will of the Americans and NATO and it is largely maintained by the European Commission. It is a fundamental and major crisis that affects everyone’s daily lives.
Yes, I have received statements from small craftsmen, small businessmen, from people who are suffering from this situation, for example bakers. About 50% of them, both in France and in Belgium and in the rest of Europe, are already bankrupt because their electricity bill has gone from 1500 euros per month to 5000 euros, which makes it completely impossible to continue their activity and will plunge hundreds of thousands of people in Europe into unemployment and into crisis.
This crisis is serious because the repercussions go much further, which is unfortunately kept secret by journalists and by the intellectual community, who divide people into pro-Russian or pro-American or pro-Putin or who knows what dictatorship in order to avoid any debate and dialogue. You have to know that less than 50 per cent of the aid or – to be more precise – the subsidies that are now given to the Ukrainians actually reach the Ukrainians. You have to know that 50 per cent of the weapons given to the Ukrainians are resold on the international markets to supply terrorists, to aliment political crises, conflicts and revolutions. Recently, the Ukrainian government published an almost 1000-page catalogue of weapons to be sold to South America, Africa and Arab countries that will fuel terrorism around the world. These are heavy and light weapons.
Ukraine is unfortunately one of the most corrupt countries in the world. I am not criticising the Ukrainians at all, but the regime that was put in place by the Americans in 2014 with that infamous coup d’état in which Victoria Nuland, who is of Ukrainian descent, as well as this Biden, uttered the words “Fuck the EU!”. Forgive me, I’m quoting her, I’m quoting her verbatim, which is to say that she established a dictatorship with disregard for any consideration, even for Ukrainians.
I protest against and I am outraged that in France and Europe a battalion called Azov is glorified, which uses the same emblems as the [SS-] division “Das Reich”!
My parents fought against Nazism, my grandparents were even deported for reasons of resistance, and for me it is absolutely scandalous that today people are being promoted who perpetrated massacres, murder and discrimination against the population in the Donbass.
Already in 2019 there were statements by the closest advisor of the future president Zelensky, Arestovych. He said in an interview in February 2019 that it was imperative to wage war against Russia, that he wanted it, and that they would definitely receive subsidies, weapons, support from Europe and the European Union, support from NATO, and that Ukraine could not lose.
As regards the, in my opinion, completely unrealistic victory of Ukraine in this war the Americans, by the way, have completely deceived the Ukrainian population and the Ukrainian government because the big loser of this war is anyway the Ukrainian population itself and, as a consequence, also Europe with the whole crisis into which it has manoeuvred itself by will of the politicians.
This is actually very, very sad, it is the suffering of Europe, it is the suffering of the people …
It is sad, but I believe in this resurgence, in this return to realities, so it is very important for me to expose all these lies and all the logic that have led to this conflict.
But in this conflict, they try to make us believe that Russia is isolated.
This is completely false, first of all because there are people who are aware of the challenges and realities both in France and in Europe and in the world, and these people have to restore the fundamental truths, expose the lies and denounce the logic that led to this war.
And I also believe in renewal, I also believe in the reconstruction that will quite simply follow, because I believe – and I come back to what you said about my grandfather –: you cannot do without Russia, you cannot do without this continent itself. It’s not quite a continent, but it’s definitely the largest country in the world, which, because of its geography, culture and history, represents an absolutely considerable economic, political, industrial, geopolitical and cultural potential.
Russia, in this crisis, rightly benefits, in my opinion, from a realignment of the political, economic and financial centres of interest towards the East and will be one of the arbiters of what is called Eurasia, i. e., a fantastic continent uniting both Europe and Asia, where new centres of decision-making will emerge.
Unfortunately, Europe will miss this absolutely fantastic opportunity, which is absolutely fantastic considering that Eurasia is a self-sufficient continent.
I would also like to denounce the hypocrisy of the sanctions regime, because we continue to buy Russian oil, which of course we cannot do without. We continue to buy Russian gas; we continue to buy industrial metals. 60 per cent of the industrial metals on the world markets are dominated, I would say, by Russia.
We continue to buy uranium. So do the Americans. We continue to buy and supply magnets for the new generation of nuclear reactors and, fortunately, we continue what unites us, namely art, common historical destiny and all that makes up the scientific community, what makes up the exchange of the intellectual community.
The international space station will continue thanks to this cooperation, which goes beyond this conflict, and that is what unites us and what we absolutely must continue.
There are just things that still unite us, and that is in particular the culture on the eve of the Christmas celebrations. The French will celebrate Christmas a little earlier, before the Russian Orthodox Christmas, which is celebrated on 7 January, and it is precisely in the French-Russian dialogue, because we believe in our very strong historical and cultural ties, that we organise a Christmas concert on 22 December. But is it only the culture that remains at this moment, that unites us?
There are many other things that unite us. I told you, and my grandfather emphasised this: that France and Russia are both daughters of Europe, have common origins and are linked by a community of destiny and interests.
This goes far beyond culture. Apart from that, culture and economic exchange are what bring nations closer together, what unites us and what endures beyond conflicts and differences of interest.
What I would also like to say is that in this common history, peace must be made – and peace is inevitable.
Peace follows every conflict. It is peace that unites people.
This peace necessarily requires a restoration of dialogue, then understanding, and then economic cooperation.
This is what restored continuity even at the time of the Cold War, I would say what constitutes continuity between peoples, and I want to convey a message of hope and unity because I believe in this community of culture and destiny.
I believe what unites us, the relations between France and Russia are extremely old, and everyone is talking about peace at the moment.
I was one of the first to denounce the lies, the injustice and the dispossession of your people, which I think is absolutely scandalous, because you cannot punish a nation, you cannot punish a people for reasons of crisis, knowing that this is not only against fundamental freedoms, but also against international law and is a very great injustice.
I believe that since the persecutions of the Jews during the Second World War, no other people has suffered as many expropriations as the Russian people are now suffering.
For me it is shocking, it is a great injustice. I think that beyond the current crises, one has to see the balance of peoples, the balance of nations, the balance of the world and the balance of Europe.
Of course, culture is one of the privileged and universal ways to bring our two peoples closer.
I think what unites us is also our common history, and what unites us is the rest, how shall I tell you, the love, the immense appreciation that I and my family have for the richness of Russian culture and the Russian world.
Recently, a Nobel laureate in physics said the following:
“People want to destroy Russian culture, but how can you destroy a country that is responsible for more than half of the fundamental discoveries in chemistry, physics and mathematics?”
You [Madame Dubois, i. e. Russia] are a great country, you are a country with a fantastic history, and unfortunately the American-inspired neoliberal model aims to destroy something much more fundamental than just managing an economic and political balance. It also aims to destroy an entire culture, and as I told you, you undermine the foundations, you undermine the consciousness of a people because you want to destroy the two pillars of civilisation, religion and faith, in order to replace them with a culture of short-termism, of personal
You attack the foundations, and I have just seen, you even attack the foundations of education, and I think that is a serious thing, and you have to preserve your bulwarks. This is what has traditionally connected us to Russian culture for a long time.
It is this idea of, how shall I say, a little bit irrational, a little bit crazy, which Dostoevsky described very well, and it is what constitutes faith. In fact, faith is one of the pillars, one of the pillars of Russia, and I think Dostoevsky quoted him:
“No one can snatch the faith from the Russian except he himself.”
That is what makes your strength and cohesion, that is what also makes the strength of the French, that is what makes the strength of every nation of every European country, just like the concepts of patriotism, love of the nation, family and religion, which unfortunately are values that today one tends to want to destroy in order to better reduce the ability of peoples and individuals to emancipate themselves, because that leads to a loss of orientation. The aim is to destroy the integrity of peoples and individuals in order to better manipulate them.
Thank you for this hopeful message. We will continue our actions in the coming years, I stress: in the coming years, because we will need these strong, strategic and cordial relations between Russia and France, and because dialogue must never cease. Thank you very much.
In any case, you should know that you are not alone, that there are many people in the world, once again, two thirds of the world’s population, in France and in Europe, who are with you and who will continue this work with you, and you can count on my support and my cooperation to continue this reconstruction in hope and renewal. Thank you very much, Madame.•
1With the term “en même temps”, Pierre de Gaulle alludes to a critical discussion of Emmanuel Macron’s frequent use of this expression. It addresses the seductive component of this term: one presents oneself as if one represents a true middle ground, takes into account the complexity of the problems, but in reality, mentions incompatible political aspects side by side in order to ultimately only really pursue the one. For example, one speaks of preserving the authority of the state and outsources its tasks “at the same time”, “en même temps”, by leaving them to financial speculation. One invokes the sanctity of the social in order to install at the same time (and in reality) the technocratic-economic paternalism of the peoples, etc. In principle, de Gaulle is also addressing the issue of dishonesty or the need for honest dealings with other countries. [Editor’s note]
Source: https://www.agoravox.fr/tribune-libre/article/nouvelle-intervention-de-pierre-de-245717 of 27 December 2022. The interview was conducted on 16 December 2022.
(Translation Current Concerns)
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