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Vatnik’s professionPolitician
Vatnik’s country of originFrance

Thierry Mariani

In today's #vatniksoup, I'll introduce a French politician and member of the European Parliament, Thierry Mariani (@ThierryMARIANI). He's best-known for his pro-Kremlin politics and antics on social media, and for promoting business with authoritarian regimes.

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Mariani has been serving as a French MEP since 2019. He previously served as Minister in charge of Transport in 2010-2012. He ran for the European Parliament from Marine Le Pen's National Rally party.

Thierry's married to Irina Chaikhoullina, a native of Yekaterinburg.

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According to gossip-y Livejournal blog post from 2015, they met in 2005, fell in love and got married in 2006 after Thierry got rid of his then-wife and children.

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In Jul 2015, Mariani, together with Russian officials, paid a visit to the illegally annexed Crimea. While there, he praised the Crimean parliament for their "courage" to "make this decision despite the difficult situation and the great danger of further escalation."

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In 2020, he acted as an "international expert" at the 2020 All-Russian voting in Crimea.

He also claimed that there are no reasons for Europe to "maintain its sanctions against Russia." Thierry's 2015 trip was denounced by the French Foreign Ministry, calling it...

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..."a violation of international law." The trip was organized via Franco-Russian Dialogue Association.

Thierry has been aggressively speaking against the sanctions ever since, even so that one might think if he has financial interests with the Kremlin.

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In 2016, he brought non-binding resolutions to the National Assembly and Senate calling on the EU to lift the sanctions against Russia. The resolution had only symbolic value, but it was a clear statement for his pro-Kremlin stance.

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In Nov 2018, Mariani traveled to the fake republic of DNR, where he met, among other people,with the fake Foreign Minister Natalya Nikonorova. He's been a big proponent of the "genocide in Donbas" narrative, claiming that Ukraine has been "bombing civilian homes since 2014."
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He also acted as an individual observer at the 2018 fake general elections in DNR. He's visited Russia as an election observer. These trips were paid for by the EU.

Ironically, Thierry joined the board of governors of the European Endowment for Democracy (EED) in 2020.

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The mission of this organization is to "to promote the values of freedom and democracy in the European Neighbourhood and beyond." The organization has supported news outlets like The Kyiv Independent. His stint didn't last long,though, as he resigned after just few months.

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Like so many before him, Thierry has been blaming Ukraine for breaking the Minsk agreements, a contract that has not been respected by either Ukraine or Russia since it was signed. Incidentally, he doesn't mention the previous Budapest Memorandum from 1994 anywhere.

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He mocked the US intelligence for announcing Russia's invasion in Ukraine before it started, and on 23 Feb 2022, he stated that the reports of Putin's push for Kyiv are "ludicrous".

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In his recent speech in the European Parliament, Mariani defended the abductions of Ukrainian conducted by the Russians, stating that the "evacuation" of these children from conflict zones is being propagandized in the West.

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This disgusting take supports Russia's push to desperately try and fix its failing demographics by kidnapping Ukrainian youth - so far almost 20 000 abductions of Ukrainian children have been confirmed.

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Thierry is a staunch critic of Zelensky, blaming him for trying to "drag the EU into a war that is not ours." He's also blamed Poland & the Baltics for "supporting a more active participation" in the war,suggesting that these countries only want to "settle some old scores".
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He's called events like the bombing of the Kerch bridge an escalation, but at this point one can ask escalation into what? Russia is already bombing civilian targets almost on a daily basis. Its troops are raping, pillaging and torturing civilians around Ukraine.

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Mariani has also been featured several times on TASS, where he usually bashes anything coming from the West. In one of his interviews he declared that the European capitals are "far too scared to displease Washington or get blackmailed by Ukrainian President...

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...Vladimir Zelensky," and that Poland is trying to drag EU deeper into the Russo-Ukrainian war.

Mariani's actions and talks make you almost think, that he has some business interests in Russia. As a matter of fact, him and Yves Pozzo di Borgo have been under...

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...investigation for Russia-related corruption since 2021. Their trips were paid for by Russia, and the French courts are determining whether these trips were rewards for the loyalty to the Russian Federation. They also investigate misuse of the organization's funds.

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Russia isn't the only country that Mariani has been simping - he's a member of the Azerbaijan's Friends Association, a main tool of the "caviar diplomacy", a lobbying strategy of Azerbaijan involving lavish gifts and free tips.

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Since the trips, Mariani has shown strong support for Ilham Aliyev, the authoritarian President of Azerbaijan, even having personal relations with him and his family. He's also the chairman of an NGO L'Eurasie, les nouveaux horizons, that's connected to several...

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... figures involved in lobbying and money laundering of almost three billions dollars through shell companies located in the UK. This money was used to whitewash Azerbaijan's reputation in Europe.

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Oh, and he never speaks about the events that took place in Bucha, Izium, Kherson or Kramatorsk. We can safely assume, that in his mind these atrocities never took place.

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