A grandson of French war hero General Charles de Gaulle has said that he wants to apply to be Russian, after lamenting the “values that have disappeared from the West”.
Pierre de Gaulle, 60, was attending a cultural forum event in St Petersburg on November 16, when he said: “I would be honoured to receive Russian citizenship. I am happy to see that you fight for traditional values; family, spirituality…all these values have disappeared in Western countries.”
He later told the TASS news agency that he intended to apply for Russian citizenship, and said that Russia offers “big possibilities”.
Since the start of the war in Ukraine, Mr de Gaulle has repeatedly said that he is a supporter of Russian President Vladimir Putin. He has since said that he believes that the West has “lost” the war.
Also in St Petersburg, he said: “Neither NATO nor the West can continue the war,” suggesting that he espouses Mr Putin’s rhetoric that the US and NATO are the ‘real’ antagonists in the war, and are using it as a way to weaken Moscow. He then said: “It is necessary to stop this tragedy.”
Last January, Mr de Gaulle told Le Figaro: “I am struck by this single-minded thought process that systematically presents Putin as the ‘bad guy’, and his Ukrainian counterpart [President Volodymyr Zelensky] as the ‘good guy’.”
In February, he travelled to Volgograd (previously Stalingrad) to attend the 80-year anniversary commemorations to mark the Soviet victory over the Germans in 1943.
As a grandson of General de Gaulle - who led the fight against the Germans in France during World War Two and later became President of France - Mr de Gaulle comes from a family that is typically considered to represent French pride and values.
He is the fourth son of Philippe de Gaulle, General de Gaulle’s eldest son.
His pro-Russia stance clearly puts him at odds with his family, who have previously moved to distance themselves from his comments.