Russian funding complaint shakes election campaign in Italy

Accusations by US secret services that Russia financed politicians from other countries with US$ 300 million are shaking up the election campaign in Italy, where several leaders have called for that the truth is urgently clarified about the involvement of Italian parties, while the right has hastened to deny the receipt of Russian funds.

“It is strange that this fake news arrives ten days before the voting: there have been open investigations for years, nothing has ever been discovered because there is nothing. It’s another thing to work for peace and try to stop the war”, said the rightist Matteo Salvini, leader of the League, already investigated by the Italian justice for the possibility of having received money from Moscow.

Salvini, who in the past did not hide his admiration for Russian President Vladimir Putin, threatened to go to court after this new news, as did Giorgia Meloni, leader of the also right-wing Brothers of Italy (FdI) and favorite to be the next prime minister after the elections. from 25 to September.

“Our financing methods are all verifiable. I’m sure the FdI doesn’t accept money from foreigners,” Meloni declared, in announcing a lawsuit against the newspaper Repubblica and former US Ambassador Paul Volker, who told the publication: “The League’s sympathy for Russia and Berlusconi was known, but now the recurring refrain is that the IDF also received help.”

Also denying any involvement was Antonio Tajani, the number two of the conservative Força Italia (FI), whose leader, Silvio Berlusconi, was considered a good friend of Putin’s until a few months ago, and he asked everyone for transparency, a request that was also made by leaders of the centre-left.

“We asked the I rule the truth before the vote. If it has evidence, it should immediately be the subject of debate in Italy”, highlighted Enrico Letta, secretary general of the Democratic Party (PD), the main progressive formation, who also insisted on the need for transparency and an “urgent” explanation.

Letta, who has alleged on several occasions that the Kremlin interfered in the Italian election campaign, argued that “the Russian effort to tarnish democracy and us, who support the unity of Europe, is disturbing”, while the still Minister of Foreign Affairs, Luigi Di Maio, leader of the small formation Empeño Cívico, requested an investigation commission.

The president of the Parliamentary Commission for Security of the Republic (Copasir), Adolfo Urso , announced a meeting of the group with Franco Gabrielli, the government’s highest authority on security matters, but anticipated that so far there is no news that Italy is among the countries involved.

A Russian embassy in Rome categorically denied the allegations s, whose government, in turn, accused of interfering in the Italian elections by presenting allegations without evidence a few days before the vote.

“The United States tries once again to accuse Russia to interfere in the internal affairs of Western countries, especially in the electoral process. Is the absence of evidence convincing? And what would that be if not a blatant attempt to manipulate public opinion on the eve of the elections?”, wrote the Russian embassy on social media.

The Washington Post published on Tuesday (13) that the US intelligence services accuse Russia of having financed parties and candidates from other countries with US$ 300 million in order to influence his political life, citing anonymous US government sources.

The newspaper indicated that among the more than 20 recipient countries would be Albania, Montenegro, Madagascar and, “potentially”, Ecuador.

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