The speech that follows was given by Pierre de Gaulle, the grandson of Charles de Gaulle, at the French Embassy in Paris, on June 14, 2022, to mark Russia Day. It is a speech that has been heavily censored in France, and we are happy to provide this English translation.
Mr. de Gaulle addresses the current Ukraine-Russia conflict by way of a blunt and brave denouncement of the French political elite who have succeeded in undermining the great ideals of his grandfather who always sought the inclusion of Russia within Europe. The opening words of greetings Mr. de Gaulle made in Russian.
Здравствуйте ! От имени французского народа горячо приветсвую русские народ и его правителей и президент Владимир Путин.
[Good Day! On behalf of the French people, I warmly greet the Russian people and its leaders and President Vladimir Putin].
Your Excellencies, Official Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen, I thank you, on behalf of my family and my father, Admiral de Gaulle, for inviting us to celebrate your national holiday.
Our peoples are linked by long years of friendship and by the blood shed against the Nazis. This is an opportunity for me to repeat that the Franco-Russian relationship was of particular importance to General de Gaulle. France and Russia are close to each other, but are also united by the awareness of their common interests and destinies.
Furthermore, Russia was seen by my grandfather as an inverse ally, indispensable for his security, but also because it was part of his conception of the stability of Europe and of Europe’s place in the world. The General even said, “Napoleon’s disastrous decision to attack Alexander I is the biggest mistake he ever made. Nothing forced him to do so. It was contrary to our interests, to our traditions, to our genius. It is from the war between Napoleon and the Russians that our decadence dates”
I have come here to affirm once again, loud and clear, that it is in France’s interest to maintain good relations with Russia and to say that we must work together in order to help the union and security of our continent, as well as the balance, progress and peace of the entire world.
Today, everyone recognizes the responsibility of the United States in the current conflict, the disastrous role of NATO, which is constantly expanding, and the reckless policy of the Ukrainian government. The latter, strengthened by beautiful promises and fed by American and European illusions, has led a very condemnable policy towards the Russian-speaking populations of Donbass, multiplying discrimination, plundering, embargoes and bombings. Unfortunately, the West has allowed Zelensky, his oligarchs and the neo-Nazi military groups to be trapped in a spiral of war.
This blindness has serious consequences for the Ukrainian people. But let’s make no mistake—what do the Americans want, if not to provoke a new East-West confrontation, whose only goal is to weaken and divide Europe in order to impose their directives, their economy and their system? Since the First World War, the Americans have made a pact to establish a necessary balance of forces in Europe and to be involved in the security of the European continent. It is not by organizing a systematic military escalation in Ukraine that they will fulfil their commitment, nor their great principles of freedom and democracy!
The United States is wrong, NATO is wrong, whose unbridled and thoughtless expansionism leads inexorably to the imbalance of the world and to injustice. The beautiful promises of the Americans not to enlarge NATO to the East, nor to the North, have not been respected. The Minsk agreements have not been respected.
The reality is that the Americans have never accepted, nor the West with them, that after the difficult transition of 1991 and the reconstruction that followed, Russia would not fit into their unipolar world. Neither the Americans nor Europe have ever accepted that Russia should transform itself according to the Western model—in its own way.
Because of this, and from the beginning, President Putin was perceived as a dictator, whereas he is a great leader for his country!
The United States has also never accepted the loss of the role of the dollar as the dominant currency in the settlement of international trade in the world. The worst thing is that, in this blindness, they are only reinforcing, by moving the economic and financial interests to the East, the position of China and the Chinese currency that they also want to fight! Sanctions—which are the policy of the weak—are inoperative, except to weaken the Europeans and other nations of the world. Even Africans, through the intermediacy of the President of the African Union, Mr. Macky Sall, are very worried about this.
By provoking a deep, systemic and lasting economic crisis that is already affecting us all, from the price of bread to heating and fuel, but also by the shortage of food, raw materials and industrial metals that all this entails, the Americans are weakening the Europeans for their own benefit. Have we forgotten that for at least a century, all the major financial crises have come from the United States? Our dollar, your problem,” said Henry Kissinger. The Americans still hold us by their debt, which they export.
By imposing a cultural and social model based on the cult of pleasure and consumption, the Americans are undermining the foundation of our traditional values and the two pillars of civilization—the family and tradition.
Europe, and of course France, have everything to lose, if they entrap themselves into this military and ideological escalation desired by the United States and NATO. As Charles de Gaulle said, “America is not part of Europe. I believe I discovered that on the map.”
France can and must play a key role in the current terrible and formidable situation. France and Russia are both daughters of Europe. France must not forget that she is the eldest of the European nations and that none of them has such a long trail of glory behind her. My grandfather always supported and defended the imperative need, even in the most difficult moments of history, to build and preserve a strong and shared relationship with Russia.
He loved Russia. My family and I love Russia and its people. The Russian people, whose property rights are so unjustly violated around the world. It reminds me of the worst moments of the occupation and the Vichy regime in France. And are Russian artists and sportsmen also responsible?
This systematic and blind policy of confiscation and discrimination of the entire Russian people is scandalous and shocks me greatly.
Allow me to quote General de Gaulle once again: “In France, we have never considered Russia as an enemy. I am for the development of Franco-Russian friendship; and I have never sent and I will never send arms to people who would have fought against Soviet Russia.”
The Americans give money (and weapons). We pay them with slices of our independence. I regret that the French government is committing itself to this submission to NATO and thus to American policy.
I deplore the fact that, because of the will of certain French presidents, France has dissolved into NATO. However, General de Gaulle always tried to maintain France’s independence in the integrated command of NATO.
NATO is absorbing Europe. And so the Americans no longer speak to France and no longer consider us a strong and independent nation.
Do we need to recall the recent slap in the face suffered by France in the brutal and unilateral breach of the contract for the purchase of Australian submarines by Australia, a member of the Commonwealth, which was orchestrated by the British and the Americans? Can France be satisfied, in addition to its loss of sovereignty, with the three-day advance in ammunition and fuel that NATO grants it? I do not understand the policy of the French President.
On the strength of his convictions, his army and the deterrent force that he himself built to the great displeasure of the Americans, General de Gaulle had the determination to leave NATO, while remaining a full member of the Atlantic Alliance. I wish that the French President had this courage and this will, rather than being subjected to the throes of single-mindedness and the common policy imposed by the Americans, which make him dependent.
In the same way, I do not recognize myself in today’s France, in this policy of “en même temps,” which weakens us. I do not recognize myself in the current abandonment of values, of our history, of our culture, of our great principles of freedom, duty and security.
General de Gaulle wrote, “There is a twenty-fold pact between the greatness of France and the freedom of the world.” Our goal is and must remain to establish a European entente between the Atlantic and the Urals. In the midst of the alarms of the world and the dangers of the present crisis, France can and must once again throw all her weight behind seeking an arrangement with the belligerent countries, and Russia in particular.
One does not wage war alone!
It is a conviction that ideologies, and therefore the regimes that express them, in Ukraine as elsewhere, are only temporary. “Only the patina of centuries and the capacity of countries to remain great count, based on political foundations.”
As General de Gaulle said in 1966 during his second trip to Russia: “The visit I am finishing to your country is a visit from the France of always to the Russia of always.”
I thank you.
The entire speech may be viewed here…
The French text of the speech comes courtesy of Pierre Yves Rougeyron and Maison russe des sciences et de la culture à Paris. [Translated from the French by N. Dass}.
Featured: Napoleon silver Specimen Essai “Friendship” Medallic 2 Francs L’An IX (1801), by Tiolier.