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French president blames Russia for attempts to influence western public opinion

March 06, 10:23 UTC+3 PARIS
The French president notes the Western countries’ authorities should be vigilant in order to respond to Russia’s efforts to employ conservative ideas to influence public opinion
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French President Francois Hollande

French President Francois Hollande

© AP Photo/Thibault Camus

PARIS, March 6. /TASS/. The Western countries’ authorities should be vigilant in order to respond to Russia’s efforts to employ conservative ideas to influence public opinion in the West, French President Francois Hollande said in an interview with France’s Le Monde daily and a number of other leading European newspapers.

"Russia has been using every tool to influence public opinion," Hollande said. "The ideas are different from those that the Soviet Union used to spread but sometimes the approaches are the same, moreover, now technologies are more effective. They pursue a strategy of engagement and employ very conservative moral views. They also claim to protect Christianity - let us not exaggerate, but we need to be vigilant."

According to the French president, Russia has been recently trying "to influence areas that used to belong to the former Soviet Union." "This is what it attempted to do in Ukraine. It wants to participate in resolving conflicts in the world to its own advantage. This is what we see in Syria: it (Russia) has been strengthening its positions as a power, it has been testing our limits and constantly measuring the balance of power," Hollande added.

At the same time, the French president said that despite all the contradictions, Paris "never stopped dialogue" with Moscow on the highest level. "However, to talk does not mead to yield when they present you with a fait accompli," Hollande noted.

Dialogue with Russia is necessary, in particular, "to find right solutions," the French president went on to say. "As far as Syria is concerned, we can see that if the opposition is dismissed or reduced, then a political solution will not be found (during talks) in Geneva," he said.

According to Hollande, Russia’s alleged efforts to influence the Western public opinion should be timely detected.

"As for ideological operations, they should be exposed, we should point directly to who is sponsored by whom as all ultra-right movements are in one way or another connected to Russia," Hollande added.

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