tribune War in Ukraine: “Watch out, former French soldiers contribute to Kremlin interests”


Here is their platform. “Since the beginning of the Russian military aggression against Ukraine and the daily reality of its barbarism, everyone can observe a phenomenon that should concern all those who are committed to the defense of our security interests and stability of the European continent. : often on social networks, sometimes on television sets, former soldiers do not hesitate to relativize or reverse the burden of responsibilities that are the origin of the worst conflict that Europe has known since the end of the Second World War .These former soldiers, more or less supported, thus marry the Kremlin narrative.

Few analysts have so far questioned the causes of this intellectual and moral aberration that prevails in an environment where the notions of rigor, ethics and loyalty are nevertheless consubstantial with those of commitment to the service of the country.

Ideology, politicization and blindness

Several factors, mostly of an ideological or political nature, contribute to this situation:

  • Russophile sentiment has long existed within a traditional, even traditionalist, part of France, where certain officers come from: a “Holy Russia,” the heart of a fantasy Slavic world, would constitute a kind of civilizing ally against an Islamist and conquering south;
  • In some minds a confusion has arisen between the virtues of authority, a notion logically cultivated within the military establishment, and a kind of fascination with the authoritarianism of the Russian democrats;
  • Through misguided patriotism, some adhere to the ideal of a “sovereignist” France whose various political promoters cultivate a visceral aversion to the project of a powerful and united Europe, and a strong transatlantic link. These two points, because together they constitute a center of gravity for the security of Western democracies, are a priority objective for Vladimir Putin;
  • Others – sometimes themselves – have developed anti-Atlantic sentiments often fueled by ignorance of NATO and, sometimes, by the frustration of having found themselves working in the environment of this organization, without always mastering the subtleties, the codes or sometimes even the work. language, a necessary step to be able to prevail.

We can also add that the pace and demands of the operations carried out in the Sahel and the Levant by our armies since 2013, as well as the major attacks in 2015-2016 on national territory, have led some leaders to prioritize, sometimes up to point (and without this being the result of any ideology), almost discarding the idea of ​​a Russian threat, even if potentially existential.

Dangerous nebula

What are, then, today the main circles or vectors, close to the institution, through which these different sensitivities are expressed? Sensitivities that sometimes overlap and ultimately all serve the hybrid war that Russia has been waging against us for years.

Today there is essentially a community of retired officers and general officers in 2th section A small part of them became actively involved with notoriously anti-European and anti-Atlantic political figures: General de la Chesnais, former number two in the army, as director of the presidential campaign of candidate Zemmour, or others with Nicolas Dupont -Aignan The case of Jean-Michel Cadenas, former gendarmerie officer and leader of the Mayenne national demonstration, is more emblematic of the support shown directly to Russia. Extremely active on the social media he pours himself into, this ex-soldier has devoted much of his online activity since the start of the Russian invasion to denigrating Ukraine and criticizing Western aid to Kyiv.

As troubling as this affects the younger generations of officers, the higher military education community has not been spared. Indeed, it has sometimes been opened to PhD students with pronounced ideologies and political commitments that are later revealed. The colonel of the operational reserve Caroline Galactéros, director of the very anti-Atlantic Geopragma institute and close to the associations of reserve officers, friends of the Franco-Russian Dialogue of the MEP RN Thierry Mariani, became at the time of the presidential geopolitical advisor to candidate Éric Zemmour’s campaign. She had worked as a seminar director at the École de Guerre when General Vincent Desportes was its director. This, converted today into the exalted geostrategic commentary, does not hesitate to make a commitment to the pro-Russian and anti-Atlantic platforms that are Omerta, Elucid and the Franco-Russian Dialogue. Meanwhile, geopolitical conspirator Aymeric Chauprade, former international affairs adviser to Marine Le Pen, was until 2009 course director at the Joint Defense College. A way, somehow, to bring the wolves of an extreme right into the fold with a geopolitical discourse aligned with that of the master of the Kremlin.

In addition to Geopragma, we can also dwell on the case of the French Center for Intelligence Research (CF2R), directed by Éric Dénecé, a pharmacy particularly complacent with the Kremlin’s theses when it is not in charge of transmitting them. However, when we consult the government of this think tank, it appears that no less than three 2nd or retired general officers are today members of its strategic committee.

Of course, this “military nebula” mixing Russophilia, anti-Atlantism, or (at best) a relativistic geopolitical approach, existed before February 24, 2022. The media omnipresence of the war unleashed by Moscow and social media simply exposed it to the light. Unfortunately, it is only the visible part of a confusion of minds that is more widespread and deep-rooted than one might think, even if it affects only a minority of the military establishment.

Acting at a time of this hybrid and global war

Minority, the phenomenon is no less worrying because these opinions or sensitivities, whether they are manifested through public commitments or more discreetly, do not forgive any of the armies. Above all, they often deny the threatening nature of Russian aims and methods of operation for European democracies. This reality, however, has been expressed and reinforced in each of the national strategic reviews published over the last ten years (strategic reviews – and updates – of 2013, 2017, 2021 and 2022). And these documents present no ambiguity about our alliances.

In this context, it seems important to deal with what could be an element of internal vulnerability within an institution that is nevertheless on the front line for the defense of the country. Beyond the immediate actions to be undertaken – or perhaps already partly carried out -, it will be especially within the framework of the new strategic function “Influence”, presented in the national strategic review published in November 2022, which will need to be defined in a in a concrete way the “counter-influence” mechanisms to be implemented. This is a matter of national security. »

Source : Le JDD
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