Skip to Content

Berlusconi embraced by the crowd during his trip in Crimea, 2015. Kremlin.ru
Rome

Italy: Uproar over vodka and a birthday greeting

In the new right-wing governing coalition in Italy, relations with Russia are a thorny issue. While Giorgia Meloni has already announced her support for the western sanctions policy, her male partners, Lega chief Salvini and former four-time prime minister Silvio Berlusconi, have untroubled relations with Moscow.

Published: October 24, 2022, 7:07 am

    Read more

    Berlusconi in particular is currently being criticized for allegedly receiving vodka and a friendly birthday greeting from Moscow.

    “I’ve somewhat resumed relations with President Putin. He sent me 20 bottles of vodka and a very sweet letter for my birthday. I replied to him with bottles of Lambrusco and an equally sweet letter,” Berlusconi said, according to an audio recording circulated by Italian news outlets.

    However, Berlusconi’s entourage denied that the exchange had been recent. “Berlusconi told the parliamentarians an old story that goes back to 2008,” said the party’s number two, ex-EU Parliament leader Antonio Tajani. Tajani is the new foreign minister in the Meloni government. Berlusconi later asserted that he had only told “an old story”.

    On Saturday, Tajani said his first act as the head of the foreign ministry will be to call his Ukraine counterpart Dmytro Kuleba to express Italy’s “solidarity”. The Forza Italia (FI) national coordinator told Mediaset’s Tg4 news that Ukraine was “defending its independence with the support of NATO”.

    Berlusconi meanwhile believes that the audio was “stolen” and deliberately disclosed “with the sole purpose of spreading slander and disinformation”.

    The former Prime Minister underlined the risks of escalating the war: “Today, unfortunately, in the Western world, there are no leaders. There are none in Europe and in the United States of America.”

    He can be heard accusing Kiev of failing to uphold an international peace deal with the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics. When Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky came to power in 2019, he “tripled down” on attacking the regions, according to Berlusconi.

    Fodder for the opposition

    His political opponents expressed alarm. The faction leader of the center parties Azione and Italia Viva in the Chamber of Deputies, Matteo Richetti, described Berlusconi’s words as “worrying”. He criticized the fact that two future governing parties, the Lega and Berlusconi’s Forza Italia, maintained ties with Moscow.

    Since their first meeting in 2001 at the G-8 summit in Genoa, Berlusconi and Putin have maintained a “genuine, deep and honest friendship”, according to the Italian head of government at the time.

    In 2017, Berlusconi flew to Moscow to celebrate his 65th birthday with Putin. After the Russian attack on Ukraine in February, Berlusconi was “deeply disappointed”. In an interview in September, however, he showed sympathy for the actions that Putin were “forced” to carry out.

    Interviewed by Italian daily Corriere della Sera, Berlusconi reiterated Forza Italia ‘s position and took the opportunity to issue a strong condemnation of Russia’s position on Ukraine: “My position absolutely coincides with that of the Italian government, the European Union, the ‘Atlantic Alliance, of our American allies, and is in clear condemnation of the military attack against a free and sovereign state”.

    At the same time, he did not renounce his past friendships with Vladimir Putin, “which had led to important results, always achieved in full agreement with our Western allies, such as the 2002 treaty in Pratica di Mare which ended after more fifty years of Cold War anguish and my intervention in 2008 to prevent the Russian invasion of Georgia”.

    “Are those who take sides only to gain accreditation in Washington and Brussels more loyal to NATO and to Europe?” Il Giornale columnist Augusto Minzolini, wanted to know.

    Consider donating to support our work

    Help us to produce more articles like this. FreeWestMedia is depending on donations from our readers to keep going. With your help, we expose the mainstream fake news agenda.

    Keep ​your language polite​. Readers from many different countries visit and contribute to Free West Media and we must therefore obey the rules in​,​ for example​, ​Germany. Illegal content will be deleted.

    If you have been approved to post comments without preview from FWM, you are responsible for violation​s​ of​ any​ law. This means that FWM may be forced to cooperate with authorities in a possible crime investigation.

    If your comments are subject to preview ​by FWM, please be patient. We continually review comments but depending on the time of day it can take up to several hours before your comment is reviewed.

    We reserve the right to del​ete​ comments that are offensive, contain slander or foul language, or are irrelevant to the discussion.

    Europe

    ‘Migrants only ever lose their passports, never their knives’

    TraiskirchenAgainst the background of the continuing mass influx of asylum seekers, the Austrian FPÖ presents itself again with a winning campaign to deal with the crisis. At a press conference on Wednesday, three leading FPÖ politicians gave more details – in Traiskirchen, Lower Austria, of all places, which is the seat of a large first reception center and has been a "hot spot" for the mass influx for months.

    Twitter’s Brussels office dismantled

    BrusselsThe move by Elon Musk to rid the online platform of "woke" ideologues, has sparked EU concern over online content control. With Twitter dismantling its entire Brussels office, some EU officials claim the platform will no longer comply with their new rules on controlling online content.

    In 4 years, 343 terror convicts have been released in France

    ParisPrisoners convicted of terrorism-related offences are monitored by the judiciary and intelligence services upon their release. This has been a huge cost to French taxpayers.

    Green MP complains about ‘cold Bundestag’

    BerlinAnyone who dares to complain about gas prices, which have increased at least six fold in the last year, is denounced as a traitor in Germany. In reality, many families do not know how they will stay warm since they are no longer able to afford heating.

    Vlaams Belang calls on government to cancel WEF membership

    BrusselsIn 2022, the Flemish government will pay €175 763.87 in membership fees to the World Economic Forum (WEF) and 27 000 Swiss francs (about €27 300) as participation fees to the annual meeting of the WEF in Davos. This is according to Flemish minister-president Jan Jambon's response to a parliamentary question by Flemish MP Sam van Rooy.

    Human traffickers shoot at Hungarian police during highway chase

    BudapestTo keep illegals flooding into the EU, human traffickers are now willing to accept the deaths of police officers. During a chase on the Hungarian highway, alleged Iraqi traffickers opened fire at the police. In the end, the traffickers could only be arrested and disarmed by a counter-terrorism unit.

    Will Elon Musk be the game changer in Ukraine?

    KievTesla founder Elon Musk is once again becoming an important military factor in the Ukrainian theater of war. Musk has decided to take around 1 300 of his Starlink satellites, which previously covered the territory of Ukraine, off the grid due to financing problems.

    How an unverified mainstream media report almost started WW3

    KievAlthough his closest allies, the US and Poland, are certain that one of his rockets hit the Polish village, Ukraine's President Vladimir Zelensky insisted until Wednesday that his neighbour was the culprit. He has so far refused to apologize for the attack that killed two Polish citizens and destroyed a tractor.

    French NATO soldiers in Romania hungry, freezing, overrun by rats 

    CincuFrench NATO soldiers stationed at the Cincu military base in Romania bitterly complained to an investigative journalist about the terrible living conditions they suffer. They live in filthy prefabricated houses from Mali that are hardly heated, there are not enough toilets, and garbage is piling up in the camp.

    Poll: 7 out of 10 French voters demand tougher migration policy

    LyonRight-wing and even Macron voters are strongly in favour of stricter measures regarding the reception and management of migrants on French territory, but it appears that the president has been deliberately deceiving his constituents. It is becoming increasingly difficult for the authorities and the media to make people believe that denouncing the migratory invasion is an "extreme right-wing" issue.

    Go to archive