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Russian pundits say Moscow to benefit from France's enhanced NATO role

Moscow, 11 March: France's return to NATO's military structures is advantageous for Russia because it strengthens the position of alliance members favouring conflict-free relations with Russia, according to Russian political analysts.

"It is a positive sign for Russia because France's participation in NATO's military structures is strengthening the position of alliance members representing the old Europe, which, in general, seeks to build relations with Russia on a conflict-free basis," the director of the political studies institute, Sergey Markov (State Duma member), told Interfax.

In the opinion of the political analyst, the strengthening of France's role is reducing the ability of the USA to influence NATO. "France is increasing its influence, thereby reducing Washington's influence and minimizing anti-Russian sentiment in the alliance, which is being stoked up by East European countries, particularly the Baltic states," Markov said.

In his opinion, the entire history of France's presence in NATO is an example of positive construction of relations with Moscow. "Paradoxically, when in the 60s Charles de Gaulle decided to take France out of NATO's military organizations, it was a positive development for Moscow. Now, France's return to the alliance's military structure also spells positive consequences for Moscow," Markov said.

The director of the political technologies centre, Aleksey Makarkin, agrees that France's return to NATO's military structure is good for Russia.

"Paris has never abandoned its special role in world politics. France's withdrawal from NATO's military structures in the 60s revealed De Gaulle's intention to build a Europe from the Atlantic to the Urals and to act as a kind of intermediary between the West and Moscow," Makarkin told Interfax.

"France's return to NATO's military organization is positive for us also because it makes it hard to implement policies supported by Washington, such as Georgia's integration into the alliance. When NATO's military structure, together with Germany, includes France, it will be more difficult to invite Georgia," the political analyst believes.