Beauty and the "beast"
    Russian journalist pushes French MFA spox into a corner

    ANALYTICS  07 February 2023 - 13:15

    Murad Abiyev

    Alexey Venediktov, a well-known Russian journalist and former editor-in-chief of Echo of Moscow, interviewed the official representative of the French Foreign Ministry, Anne-Claire Legendre. The conversation took place on the Russian-speaking American channel RTVI, where Venediktov has been hosting the "If tomorrow comes" talk show for some time.

    As befits an official representative of the Foreign Ministry in line with the latest trends, Madame Legendre is smart, sleek, and has an impeccable style. She was wearing a white blouse, a yellow jacket, black trousers, and beige Cossack boots.

    Mr. Venediktov was also in his own style - a shirt over a T-shirt, jeans, and soft boots. A beard and glasses, of course. And here everything is clear: the old role - soft on the outside, hard on the inside. It is worth remembering that Venediktov belongs to the group of pro-Armenian representatives of the Russian liberal mass media; however, he has changed his rhetoric a little in recent years and tries to be objective in the Karabakh issue. This well-known journalist is certainly not a friend of Azerbaijan, which is not necessary for us, but it is nevertheless pleasant to get to know a person from a new side. By the way, there was an interesting detail: Venediktov spoke in French, which he speaks quite fluently.

    They talked more about Ukraine. No, not that way, they talked only about Ukraine and around Ukraine. Venediktov's question... about Karabakh sounded more unexpected. As if feeling uneasy about its irrelevance and trying to deny its authorship, the journalist introduced it with the following words: "Please, answer me the question asked by my friend, a native Armenian living in Moscow".

    If we recall that the owner of RTVI since 2019 is an American of Armenian origin, Mikayel Israelyan, the journalist's interest is not surprising. "Why has France, as he (the journalist's friend - ed.) claims, abandoned Armenia and Karabakh?", Venediktov asks the Frenchwoman. Ms. Legendre did not expect such a change of subject but was ready for it: "I do not think it is possible to talk like that. Today we are extremely concerned about the 'blockade of the Lachin corridor'...". She went on to talk about the risk of a "serious humanitarian crisis" and support for negotiations. Among other theses is the following: "You know also, and this is thanks to President Macron, that the representatives of the two countries were able to talk to each other on the sidelines of the summit last October and we decided in this framework to send a European Union mission to the Armenian border to reduce tension and ensure the respect of its borders".

    Well, this is too much. Venediktov may not know such subtleties, but the representatives of the two countries and the president of the European Union, Mr. Charles Michel, were communicating well without Macron until he decided to join the process with his EU mission.

    According to Legendre, the EU mission is a significant contribution by France to assist Armenia. But the Armenian side does not seem to think so. The journalist recalls this again, giving away a kind of insider: 'I have spoken to Armenian officials and I do not know why their vision differs from yours - as far as France's role is concerned, they do not see it as assistance".

    It appears that the Armenian officials are complaining to a foreign journalist about French policy. Venediktov seemed unable to hold back a squeamish grimace when uttering these words.

    Legendre, with barely concealed irritation, the best marker of which is a strained smile, replies: "I don't think so. I think there is support from us. It has been expressed at the highest state level...". Then she once again touched upon Macron's exceptional role...

    So, the main conclusion from this "Armenian section" of the conversation is that the Armenian side considers itself abandoned, including by the EU mission, which cannot help to promote Armenian foreign policy interests in any effective way but will create problems inside the country.

    But let's get back to the interview since it would have been too small to limit ourselves to a single Armenian topic, especially when covering a conversation between two such prominent personalities. The journalist continued to ask questions related to Ukrainian issues. The French diplomat continued to respond to all acute issues with vigour and competence. She proved that France had adopted a clear, uncompromising, but at the same time constructive position on the Ukrainian issue. Legendre spoke rather harshly about Russia and its policies while emphasising the role of President Macron, "who is in touch with Putin all the time". She stressed that the existence of this communication channel is very important. One could see she was happy to answer questions in the spirit of "we are for everything good against everything bad".

    However, to the cunning and predatory Venediktov, it seemed not enough. The journalist asked a question about "the situation with Türkiye and Sweden, freedom of speech and burning of Quran". Legendre replied in general terms that France would welcome Sweden and Finland to join the North-Atlantic Alliance as soon as possible. Venediktov, on the other hand, finding a sore point, did not hesitate to press it: "Well I asked a question about the very fact that such things are being done to the Quran, to the holy books...".

    It may seem strange, but at this point, the iron lady of French diplomacy simply broke down. She looked around helplessly, as if looking for outside support, and in a shaky voice said that "this is irrelevant to the topic of the conversation". And even quite indelicately started looking at her watch. "Can we just call it a day? We've already been talking for over twenty minutes." Anyway, your time is up," the diplomat told the journalist bluntly. Then she glanced at her watch again, turned to her assistants, and again declared that "this is not relevant to today's topic".

    In other words, the person has studied to be a diplomat for a couple of decades, underwent special training before being appointed a diplomatic representative, is pumped full of various negotiation techniques, and even successfully uses these skills in her interviews, skirting contentious issues with a professional smile, only to make round eyes upon hearing the word "Quran" and skip the conversation! The editorial board is simply startled.

    Venediktov perplexedly but with evident pleasure watched the victim's thrashing, but like a true gentleman did not let the conversation end in a fiasco of a lady. Like a merciful teacher allowing a student to use another chance, he asked her an additional question from another field, more precisely, again about Ukraine. A grateful Anne-Claire Legendre pulled herself together and answered confidently and cheerfully, concluding her speech with the brave, "Till final victory, as the President of the Republic said!"


    Subscribe to our Telegram channel

Read also

Armenia provoking Azerbaijan into new war EU to bear the blame

21 March 2023 - 13:33

Armenian sacrificial syndrome UN preparing for another slander

20 March 2023 - 13:02

If you can't do it, we'll teach you; if you don't want to, we'll force you Following Aliyev's speech in Tartar

20 March 2023 - 00:14

Karabakh development, implementation of transport, social projects - priorities for 2023 Review by Caliber.Az

18 March 2023 - 14:36

An hour of solidarity: Turkic leaders show determination for further integration Together through tough times

17 March 2023 - 17:55

Mass violence as a favourite tool of the Armenian diaspora Upholding the peace between Azerbaijanis and Armenians

17 March 2023 - 15:01
Latest news

    Hungarian top diplomat: Direct conflict between NATO, Russia to lead to world war

    21 March 2023 - 15:33

    Azerbaijani chefs cooking festive dishes in Shusha for eco-campaign participants


    21 March 2023 - 15:20

    Azerbaijan to plant three million trees in honour of 100th anniversary of Heydar Aliyev

    21 March 2023 - 15:08

    Armenia refuses to include opposition faction’s draft statement on Lachin road in agenda

    21 March 2023 - 15:02

    Knesset advances bill allowing Israelis to return to evacuated West Bank settlements

    21 March 2023 - 14:50

    UN: Over 8,000 civilians die in Ukraine since beginning of war

    21 March 2023 - 14:38

    Macron narrowly survives crucial no-confidence votes in parliament

    Analysis by POLITICO

    21 March 2023 - 14:25

    Saudi Arabia releases US national jailed for tweets

    21 March 2023 - 14:13

    Xi invites Russia’s Putin to visit China

    21 March 2023 - 14:00

    Khankendi-Lachin road: Thirty-seven vehicles belonging to RPC freely move through protest area


    21 March 2023 - 13:48

    Israeli, British FMs to discuss ways to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons

    21 March 2023 - 13:46

    Armenia provoking Azerbaijan into new war

    EU to bear the blame

    21 March 2023 - 13:33

    Thousands march in South Africa demanding president's resignation

    21 March 2023 - 13:21

    Official application for Erdogan’s presidential candidacy to be submitted today

    21 March 2023 - 13:08

    Canada moves to make immigration easier for Turkish, Syrian citizens

    21 March 2023 - 12:55

    Assistant to Azerbaijani first VP gives interview to France 24


    21 March 2023 - 12:43

    Turkish Ambassador Cahit Bagci expresses gratitude to Azerbaijan


    21 March 2023 - 12:30

    Polish PM: Time to confiscate Russian assets to rebuild Ukraine

    21 March 2023 - 12:18

    UN Headquarters in New York celebrates Novruz holiday

    21 March 2023 - 12:05

    Stoltenberg: Finland’s NATO accession proves ‘exact opposite’ of Putin’s plans

    21 March 2023 - 11:52

    Kazakh president: Parliamentary elections - worthy continuation of large-scale changes

    21 March 2023 - 11:38

    European Commission ready to allocate $117 million to solve migration issue

    21 March 2023 - 11:25

    Sri Lanka to receive first tranche from IMF in next two days

    21 March 2023 - 11:14

    Seventeen EU countries, Norway agree to jointly buy ammunition for Ukraine and own stockpiles

    21 March 2023 - 11:02

    Taiwan's east coast hit by 5.3 magnitude earthquake

    21 March 2023 - 10:50

    Danish far-right leader banned from UK over threat to burn Quran in Wakefield

    21 March 2023 - 10:38

    Azerbaijan, Council of Europe sign another document

    21 March 2023 - 10:35

    More Red Cross vehicles pass safely along Khankendi-Lachin road


    21 March 2023 - 10:27

    Putin: Russia open to talks for peace with Ukraine

    21 March 2023 - 10:26

    Japanese PM making surprise visit to Ukraine

    21 March 2023 - 10:13

    Hungary’s MOL Group ships Azerbaijani crude to Bratislava refinery

    21 March 2023 - 10:00

    President of EU Council shares post on occasion of Novruz holiday

    21 March 2023 - 09:48

    Spring comes to Azerbaijan

    21 March 2023 - 09:36

    Khankendi-Lachin road: Protest against eco-terror and plunder of resources enters 100th day

    21 March 2023 - 09:25

    Azerbaijan to provide $100 million in aid to brotherly Türkiye

    21 March 2023 - 09:12

    Apple’s folding iPhone could automatically shut to protect itself from fumble fingers

    21 March 2023 - 09:00

    China, Cambodia hold first naval drills in Cambodian waters

    21 March 2023 - 08:00

    Russia China's top crude supplier for Jan-Feb

    21 March 2023 - 07:00

    Insurance agencies would love to know who blew up Nord Stream

    Analysis by Foreign Policy

    21 March 2023 - 06:00

    German economy heading for contraction in Q1, Bundesbank says

    21 March 2023 - 05:02

    Biden’s looming trap in Ukraine

    Analysis by Responsible Statecraft

    21 March 2023 - 04:00

    Finland declared happiest country sixth time in row

    21 March 2023 - 03:01

    Iran’s Raisi welcomes invitation from king to visit Saudi Arabia

    21 March 2023 - 02:02

    US, Philippines to announce new sites for US military as soon as possible

    21 March 2023 - 01:00

    Japan commissions "Hakugei" second Taigei class submarine

    21 March 2023 - 00:01

All news