|The Lega Nord's Matteo Salvini is flying to Moscow on 5 March 2017|
|Matteo Salvini and Sergey Zheleznyak sign the coordination agreement between the Lega Nord and the United Russia. Moscow, 6 March 2017|
The LN under the leadership of Salvini started building contacts with the Russian actors already at the end of 2013. Aleksey Komov, an employee of Russian ultranationalist Orthodox oligarch Konstantin Malofeev and the official representative of the World Congress of Families in Russia, travelled to Turin in December 2013 and took part, together with a Russian MP from the ER Viktor Zubarev, in the LN’s congress that elected Salvini as a new leader of the party.
Since the beginning of 2014, the LN has been extremely active in carrying out pro-Kremlin efforts in Italy, in particular through the Associazione Culturale Lombardia Russia (Lombardy-Russia Cultural Association, ACLR; more on the workings of the ACLR see section "Italy" here).
|Alexey Komov addresses the congress of Lega Nord. Rome, December 2013|
|Matteo Salvini and Sergey Naryshkin. Moscow, October 2014|
|The delegation of the Lega Nord being greeted by Sergey Naryshkin in the Russian "parliament". Moscow, October 2014|
|Matteo Salvini and Vladimir Putin. Milan, 17 October 2014|
|The LN delegation meets with Aleksey Pushkov (third from the left). Moscow, 17 December 2015|
- the parties shall consult and exchange information on current affairs, international relations, exchange experiences in the sphere of youth policies and economic development;
- shall regularly exchange delegations at different levels, hold bilateral and multilateral seminars, conferences and round tables on the most topical issues of Russian-Italian reactions;
- shall contribute to the unification of all forces in the fight against Islamic terrorism, combat illegal immigration, and defend traditional values.
To reiterate, however, the agreement signed by the LN and ER is not as significant as that between the FPÖ and ER. Unlike the far right FPÖ, which is currently the most popular party in Austria, the LN is only fourth in Italy (they may obtain 10-12% of the vote in the next parliamentary election), so Moscow is not ready (yet) to provide full-fledged political support for the LN, trying to find more established and popular allies in Italy, or even in the populist Movimento 5 Stelle (Five Star Movement). At the same time, Moscow will definitely keep medium-level contacts with the LN and will turn to the Italian far right in case it fails in its search for the Putinversteher in the Italian mainstream circles.
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