On March 1, Matteo Salvini met in great secret the Russian ambassador to Italy, Sergej Razov, together with the mysterious Antonio Capuano, a former member of Forza Italia from Frattaminore who has become, in recent months, a sort of super-consultant for Salvini for foreign policy.
The rendezvous took place in the evening at the embassy in Rome, where Razov organized a dinner for the head of the League. The invasion of Ukraine by the Russian army had begun only a week earlier, and around the table were seated Salvini, Capuano, Razov and his adviser and translator. No one knows what they discussed, but the discussions have likely been on issues related to the conflict that has just erupted, to the grievances of Russia and – perhaps – to the position of Salvini’s party, which is always considered very close to Vladimir Putin, concerning Moscow, in those days already targeted by the first Western sanctions.
Some sources suggest that the Salvini-Capuano couple met Razov other times also in mid-March and early April, but one fact is certain: he contacted Palazzo Chigi (seat of the Council of Ministers and the official residence of the Prime Minister of Italy), which says it is not aware of any confidential meeting between the leader of one of the parties of the majority and Ambassador Razov.
However, this has raised a political storm in Italy, including centre-right allies.
“The government is aligned with the partners of the G7 and the EU and intends to continue on this path. It does not let these things move; in my hearing at Copasir, I only recommended – I do not want to enter into the relationships that the members of the majority may have – but it is important that they be transparent,” Prime Minister Mario Draghi, said answering a question about Matteo Salvini’s possible trip to Moscow.
“When the government was formed, it was firmly placed in the European Union and in the historical transatlantic relationship. Along this track – Draghi insisted – it has always moved and continues to move”.
On May 28, Salvini responded to the criticism, “I thought it was worth getting involved for peace; I didn’t expect applause, but neither did I expect insults.”
“Going to war territory is not a weekend in Riccione. I work on it, and I will work on it,” declared the secretary of the League during an electoral meeting in Parma, speaking about his possibility of going to Moscow for talks. Salvini then retracted his position, explaining to Rai Radio 1 that the departure for Russia “does not depend on me”.
Support for Salvani
“I share Salvini’s position; I’m on Salvini’s side”. Professor Alessandro Orsini, professor of sociology of international terrorism, told Cartabianca political show on the hypothesis of Matteo Salvini’s trip to Moscow during the war between Russia and Ukraine.
“Salvini is a courageous political leader who is questioning the Johnson-Biden axis; he is absolutely against the Biden-Johnson line and is trying to do politics. And this is an extraordinary fact; Salvini is looking for solutions. I admire people like Salvini and Giuseppe Conte, who try to do politics and move. Salvini is making us understand that if we continue on this path in 20 years, Europe will be a disaster,” says Orsini.
“Is Salvini a Putinian? I have big doubts about this; he was also a huge Trump admirer. Salvini is wondering what will happen to Italy if he continues down this path,” Orsini defended Salvini.
Salvini received support from a journalist too. “I am in solidarity with Salvini,” said journalist Michele Santoro, during the show ‘L’Aria che tira’ on La7 shot in ‘Capranichetta’ in Rome.
“Poor Salvini – said Santoro – has never been massacred like this by the political system for all the cachinnate (roughly guffaw in English) he has said in the course of his career, and now that he has tried to do something to achieve peace he is massacred by everyone. Only the NATO bombing of Salvini,” he joked.
Who is Salvini?
Matteo Salvini is an Italian politician, one of the leaders of the League of the North, and is known as a Kremlin lobbyist. Previously he has served as the Minister of the Interior and then Deputy Prime Minister of Italy. He has been a senator in Italy since March 2018. He is the leader of Lega per Salvini Premier (also called League), a right-wing populist political party.
Adheres to pro-Russian views, Salvini has repeatedly spoken out in support of the Russian authorities. He considers the annexation of Crimea to be legal and advocates the lifting of EU sanctions against Russia.
He pursues a tough policy against migration and declares that his country should not be “a European refugee camp.”
In 2001, Salvini married radio journalist Fabrizia Ieluzzi. In 2003, they had a son, Federico, but later a divorce followed.
There is a daughter Mirta (born in 2013), from Giulia Martinelli.