Monday, November 24, 2014

These days they have to borrow the money

Among my reading matter (together with that huge Stalin biography, volume 1) is another book in the excellent Yale Annals of Communism series about the Comintern and its activity. Among the various activities that occupied that organization and its various officials (and one has to remember the turn-over was rather high) was the vastly important one of distributing funds to various Communist parties in the West though mostly to the secret branches as well as other organizations like trade unions.

How times have changed. These days parties that are strapped for cash but are happy to include praise of the Putin regime among their activities have to borrow the money and not directly but from a bank.
The far-right French party, Front National (FN), borrowed €9 million from a Russian bank, posing questions over its relationship with the Kremlin.

The loan, by the First Czech Russian Bank (FCRB), was granted in late September, according to a report out on Saturday (22 November) in Mediapart, an online investigative journal.

It notes the FCRB is de facto owned by Roman Popov, a financier with close ties to the Russian political establishment.

Wallerand de Saint-Just, the FN’s treasurer, told Mediapart the loan was organised by Jean-Luc Schaffhauser, an FN euro-deputy.

“We’d been looking for a loan for a long time, notably to finance our election campaigns. Our bank, like many other French and European banks, categorically refused to lend a single centime to the FN or to FN candidates”, he said.

“So Mr Schaffhauser … who has had good relations in Russia for a long time, said: ‘Let me go and see this bank’.”

De Saint-Just denied the FCRB loan amounts to foreign interference in French politics, saying he has never met Popov and has only had contact with the bank’s “technical" staff.
I cannot believe that the Front National's treasurer can be quite so naïve. He can, of course, think that he will be able to outwit the people he is playing with, that is the Russian political establishment and its running dogs (to quote an old phrase) but I am not sure I would be putting any money on him against Mr Popov.

More on the story by France24 here.


  1. I realised that banking was going pear-shaped when "Access took the waiting out of wanting" and banks were ready to advance money to pay for a holiday.

    The FN, of course, is not alone amongst political parties in borrowing money to finance current campaign expenditure but where, one wonders, is the income stream to repay it? Perhaps they should ask Catherine Ashton how she managed the affairs of CND when she was treasurer.

    The BBC borrows from Brussels but has the ever patient licence payer as a guarantor of repayment .

  2. Oh but Edward, Baroness Ashton had no idea where CND's money came from. She told us so. A fine treasurer she must have been.