Italian lawmakers boycott Volodymyr Zelensky’s speech because it’s ‘unfair’ to Vladimir Putin

ROME — Russian President Putin has always had a special place in Italy. Few will forget how former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi called a maidservant on the pleated bed the Russian leader gave him, or how Putin’s visit to Berlusconi’s “bunga bunga” villa near Milan caused a stir on social media sites. how upset. Not to mention how painful Italy’s current dependence on Russian gas was due to the cuts in the 1990s, or before sanctions, Russia is one of the largest importers of these commodities. Luxury goods Made in Italy. Sardinia Island and opulent Lake Como are dotted with Russian-owned villas, and before sanctions, Russian yachts had dedicated berths on Sardinia’s Emerald Coast.

Italy was one of the last holdouts before signing on to European sanctions, earning scorn from former European Council President Donald Tusk, who criticized Italy by name. “Putin’s folly and cruelty, Ukrainian victims, bombs falling on Kyiv,” he wrote a few days after the invasion began. “Only your sanctions are pretense. EU governments who have blocked hard decisions (like Germany, Hungary, Italy) have discredited themselves”.

Italy eventually signed off but Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi acknowledged that Italy, which has the closest ties to Russia in the EU, said it would be difficult for the country. “In the event that gas supplies from Russia are disrupted, Italy has more to lose than European countries that depend on different sources,” Draghi told the Italian Parliament as he sought approval for the gas supply. signing of sanctions. “This does not diminish our resolve to support sanctions that we consider reasonable and necessary.”

Over the weekend, Russian Foreign Minister Alexey Paramonov accused Italy of becoming a victim of “anti-Russian hysteria” and mentioned how Russia had launched medical equipment and respirators when Italy was badly affected. from the outset during the COVID-19 pandemic. “Italy forgot its centuries-old relationship and bilateral agreements for a second,” he said.

Draghi called it “particularly disgusting and unacceptable” when comparing the invasion of Ukraine to the pandemic crisis.

But now that a month has turned into a senseless war, where thousands of civilians have been killed, towns razed and millions displaced — 55,000 of whom have gone to Italy — it seems that everyone are of the same opinion against Putin.

Or not.

A handful of Italian MPs have announced they will boycott an online address of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky scheduled for Tuesday morning. Among the many reasons? They did not invite Putin to give his side of the story.

Spokespersons for both the Five-Star movement and the Lega party – which most boycotts hail as – confirmed to The Daily Beast that some members would not attend, but such a move is not party mission.

The far-right Lega party leader Matteo Salvini was flustered at the Polish-Ukraine border when a local mayor pulled on a T-shirt similar to the one Putin used to wear while standing in Red Square, with the caption saying that he will swap two Italian presidents for one Putin – said he would attend the speech. But many on his team won’t.

Lega Senator Simone Pillon was very critical of the event. “I am very skeptical of President Zelensky’s teleconference because I believe we should put ourselves in an appropriate position to promote peace,” he told reporters on Monday. “Selling arms to one of the conflicting parties is not conducive to dialogue.”

Senator Laura Granato, a former member of the Five Star movement, said she did not attend because Mr. Putin was also not invited. “It would be right to listen to the voice of the Russian counterpart,” she said Monday. A member of Berlusconi’s Forza Italia party, Veronica Ginnanoe, called Zelensky’s speech to parliament “a show” not meant to facilitate peace but to further polarize Europe, saying added that the risk when he spoke was that it would turn war into a “polarizing spectacle.” ”

Members of the Alternativa group released a joint statement highlighting why none of their members will attend. “This is a speech that doesn’t change the state of things by an iota,” the statement said. “This is one and only marketing that will not serve to deter hostile conduct and will do no good to the offended party.”

The “offended party” is of course a sovereign state under the onslaught of an aggressive authoritarian force.

A majority of the Italian parliament will attend the speech, and many have voiced harsh opposition to those who are boycotting Zelensky.

“I believe that the level of propaganda submission by some MPs exceeds what is reasonable,” Deputy Interior Minister Ivan Scalfarotto said on Monday, noting that Italy has been essentially disarmed by its allies. How to save from Fascism. “But how can we recall our Constitution to call for a one-sided pacifism contrary to our history? The Constitution denies war as an instrument of attack, not of legitimate defense: it was born out of partisan liberation wars, let us not forget it. “ Italian lawmakers boycott Volodymyr Zelensky’s speech because it’s ‘unfair’ to Vladimir Putin

Russell Falcon

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