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The idea of Europe “from Atlantic to the Urals” is still relevant, Russian deputy says

September 01, 2014, 23:48 UTC+3 ¶ PARIS
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PARIS, September 01, /ITAR-TASS/. Russian State Duma Speaker Sergei Naryshkin said on Monday that the idea of French politician General de Gaulle to create Europe from the Atlantic to the Urals was important for its security and had no alternative.

General Charles de Gaulle was the key figure of the French Resistance during WWII and the founder of the Fifth Republic in France after the war.

“We remember General de Gaulle as the author of an idea of unified Europe stretching from the Atlantic to the Urals. He, like no one else, felt the core of global processes that were taking place in Europe at that time. His scenario of providing a safe future for Europe is relevant in our days and does not have an alternative,” Naryshkin said during his visit to the Charles de Gaulle’s museum in Paris.

“Those who are trying to break that trend while staying thousands of kilometers away from Europe are making a great historical mistake,” Naryshkin went on to say.

The Russian deputy spoke about General de Gaulle’s difficult trip to Moscow in December 1944 to meet Soviet leader Joseph Stalin. They signed a treaty on allied relations and mutual assistance between the Soviet Union and France.

“It was then that he pronounced his historic words about France and Russia who should stay together. Being together means to be strong; being disunited means to be in danger,” Naryshkin went on to say.

The Charles de Gaulle Fund was founded in 1971. It has a unique archive of documentary and audio-visual materials linked to de Gaulle’s life as a military and politician. The catalogue has more than 30,000 various documents: personal letters, public addresses and official acts. Charles de Gaulle died unexpectedly in 1970. However, his political heritage known as “Gaullism” is still relevant in contemporary France.

 Also Naryshkin has called on French public and entrepreneurs to resist a policy of curtailing bilateral contacts with Russia.

“The internal crisis in Ukraine is overshadowing relations between Russia and France and is even threatening to block them in some areas,” Naryshkin said.

The Russian deputy said he was sure that neither French entrepreneurs or French public nor the Russians were interested in breaking those ties.

“Russians have always had friendly feelings towards France and have always remembered  that we were allies in two world wars. A policy of curtailing our contacts is not only betraying our common historical memory but is damaging relations between our peoples,” Naryshkin said.

He urged French businessmen and public to continue developing contacts with Russia. He said that France was one of the ten biggest exporters of agricultural products to Russia and that the French farmers would suffer about 1 billion worth of losses because of Russia-imposed embargo on Western food imports.

“Russia did not retaliate to the sanctions announced by the United States and the European Union for five months. Until the very last moment we hoped that our Western partners will realize that the policy of sanctions will lead us to a deadlock. We still consider any sanctions whether imposed against individuals or separate corporations to be evil practice. They destroy the global economic set-up that was formed for decades and are throwing us into the past century,” Naryshkin stressed.

He thanked the French business circles for appealing to their country’s leadership to give up the policy of confrontation with Russia.

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