Italy will elect a new government on Sunday and a familiar face may return: Silvio Berlusconi. Prior to this, the former Prime Minister polarized by making a statement.
Former Prime Minister of Italy, Silvio Berlusconi, made a mess with his statement about Vladimir Putin shortly before the parliamentary elections. In a television interview on Thursday evening, the 85-year-old claimed that he was pressured by the Kremlin chief to invade Ukraine.
“Putin was summoned by the Russian people, by one side and its ministers, to prepare this special operation,” Berlusconi said of Rai.
Berlusconi: “Republics” asked Putin to invade country
Berlusconi is a friend of the Russian president and was reluctant to condemn the invasion after the war began. Now he said:
He uses this phrase deliberately because representatives of the two self-proclaimed “republics” in Donbass asked Putin to intervene in February. They convinced Putin by claiming that Ukraine was attacking the regions more and more violently.
Berlusconi returning to government?
Also, the party leader of Forza Italia, which has the best chance of winning Sunday’s election as a smaller partner in a right-wing coalition, said Putin wants to replace Volodymyr Zelensky’s government in Kiev with a “government of good people”.
The statements of the media entrepreneur, who attracted attention with his scandals as well as his politics, alarmed those who fear that Italy will turn to Russia after the election. In addition to Berlusconi, Matteo Salvini is part of the right-wing bloc – the head of Lega has been a Putin fan for years and has been critical of Western sanctions against Moscow.
Center candidate Carlo Calenda described Berlusconi’s appearance as “truly tragic” and described the founder of Forza Italia as “something between Putin’s press officer and military adviser”. Former Prime Minister Enrico Letta of the Social Democrats tweeted on Friday: “There are no words to comment on this.”
Facebook post incited by the Russian embassy
On Thursday, Russia’s embassy in Rome provoked a post on Facebook in which Italian politicians posted pictures of them meeting with Putin in previous years.
These included Berlusconi and Salvini, as well as other campaigners such as Letta, Giuseppe Conte, Matteo Renzi or Luigi Di Maio, and even President Sergio Mattarella and his predecessor, Giorgio Napolitano. “From the recent history of Russian-Italian relations,” he said. “We should remember some of them.”
More about the upcoming elections in Italy: