Giuseppe Conte: A Pro-Russia Stance in Italian Politics

Giuseppe Conte is an Italian jurist, intellectual, and politician. He acted as prime minister of Italy from June 2018 to February 2021. Conte has been the president of the Five Star Movement (M5S) since August 2021. Five Star Movement is a populist party that has long called for an EU-Russia dialogue and protested against anti-Russian sanctions. Its leader, Giuseppe Conte, has consistently opposed Ukraine’s military aid supplies.

In 2019, Conte also suggested lifting the international sanctions against Russia. Since his term as prime minister started, Conte’s foreign policy has been marked by a lenient approach to Russia. For example, he pushed for the abolition of international sanctions against Moscow, which, according to him, “damaged the Italian economy”.

He also regarded Russia as a strategic partner in the fight against Islamic terrorism. During the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, after a phone conversation with Conte, Russian President Vladimir Putin organized for the Russian army to dispatch military medics, special disinfection automobiles, and other medical supplies to Italy, which was the European country badly hit by coronavirus.

Conte created a close relationship with U.S. President Donald Trump during his premiership. Since the start of Conte’s government, Trump regarded him as a critical ally during international meetings and his “privileged interlocutor” in Europe. On June 8 and 9, Conte partook in his first G7 summit, hosted by Justin Trudeau in Canada. He was the only leader supporting President Trump’s proposal to readmit Russia into the G7 during the summit. The following day, Conte was thanked for his stance on Russia and his populist perspective by President Trump, who invited him to the White House.

In 2019, Conte approved the US Attorney General, William Barr, to consult with the Italian intelligence services about a potential plot against President Trump amid the investigations on the Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. This event caused criticism, especially within his majority section, with the Democratic Party and Italia Viva asking the Prime Minister to clarify it.

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