Italy, EU and Trump
Alexander Dugin: Greetings, Mr. Salvini.
Mr. Salvini: Thank you for your invitation.
Alexander Dugin: Welcome to Moscow.
Mr. Salvini: Thank you.
Alexander Dugin: At the beginning of our conversation, I would like to know what you think about the election of Trump as president of the US. We know that you met with him on the eve of the elections in New York. You were one of the few European politicians to have done so.
Mr. Salvini: Yes, this election is great news. A lesson in democracy. In Trump's program, there are such theses as putting an end to wars and the export of democracy around the whole world, revising NATO and the UN’s roles, and pursuing friendly relations with Russia. Great attention is also paid to what is happening in the United States: the war against illegal immigration and the introduction of proportional taxation (a flat tax). Compared to Clinton’s line, which represented the interests of the banks, the financial elite and its policies, his policy is a breath of fresh air, which will benefit all of us.
Alexander Dugin: What do you think: will Trump’s victory influence Europe in general and the European Union in particular?
Mr. Salvini: This victory, as well as the victory of Brexit during the British referendum in June, will have a uniquely positive impact. The peoples are freeing themselves. Behind Clinton, as well as Juncker and Merkel in the EU, there is the financial elite, political forces, and lobbies, but the common people are not for them. That’s why the fact of the defeat of the ruling elite in the United States, the world’s leading country, will in turn release free energy in Europe.
In the near future, presidential elections will be held in Austria, in the next year in Germany and the Netherlands, and also in France, and I hope, elections in Italy. All of this might change the world in just one year.
Alexander Dugin: Is it possible that the European Union will be completely dismembered?
Mr. Salvini: The EU, being an unnatural structure, has already started crumbling. The European Union is a cell, the opposite of democracy, the opposite of the culture of labor. The euro is clearly an erroneous coin. The European Union is not an example in terms of the application of democratic principles. Therefore nations are regaining their sovereignty.
Alexander Dugin: What was the reaction of Italian media to Trump’s victory?
Mr. Salvini: The reaction was amusing. Amusing, because they were all on Clinton’s side. All publications, TV channels, radio stations, all intellectuals, journalists, the organizers of surveys - all were for her. Singers and actors too. This victory is remarkable, which means that people are still free. Now everyone is wondering why it happened, and no one seems to understand. Some are continuing to attack Trump, saying that he is a racist, fascist, xenophobe, homophobe, Islamophobe, etc., but people are beginning to understand.
Alexander Dugin: I am sure that your personal meeting with Trump was a very important event.
Mr. Salvini: Yes, I was the only one who met with him. This happened in April 2016 in Pennsylvania. 15 thousand people gathered to listen to Donald Trump in the middle of the day. And it was exactly there that we realized that he would win. There were farmers, students, managers, mothers, and workers. Naturally, after this meeting, I was criticized just like after I met with Vladimir Putin, since they are dictators, they are bad and evil. In fact. they are politicians who bring freedom and give hope. I am the only Italian political leader who dared to take a picture with Donald Trump.
Alexander Dugin: The current world situation is very interesting because the two poles, East and West, now have two strong leaders. This should serve as an example for Europe to become strong and have a strong leader. How do you see the future of Italy and what, in your opinion, will be the impact of the "Trump effect" on Italy and Italian politics?
Mr. Salvini: Italy has always been a servant, a servant of the European Union and the United States. Policies have been made under the diktat of somebody else. I hope that Italians will regain freedom and will once again be the masters of their own destiny. A referendum on amendments to the Constitution is going to be held soon, a terrible referendum with the help of which Renzi wants to legitimize the EU in the Italian Constitution with all power emanating from it.
So, first of all, it is necessary to reject the constitutional amendment, and then to vote during the rising sentiment of sovereignty and identity. In addition to economic issues, in my opinion, ethical issues such as the role of the family, the importance of religion, the preservation of traditions, language, and culture have once again become relevant thanks to the interest displayed by youth. Therefore, Europe and Italy will either refuse this or will abandon hope for a revival.
Alexander Dugin: It is also curious that we have been accustomed to speaking of Americanism and everything American with a negative assessment. But today, on the contrary, to be on America's side almost means to be on the side of Russia, Putin's Russia. This change is extremely important.
Mr. Salvini: Yes, it's an incredible phenomenon, typical for leftist and salon (radical chic) intellectuals. When they hold power, then America is supposed to be an example to follow, but when they lose the elections, then the United States no longer serves as an example. Everybody goes crazy.
Alexander Dugin: Anti-Americanism is paradoxically transformed into its opposite.
Mr. Salvini: Certainly. Who is protesting Trump? Spoiled youth. The advantage of democracy is that people can vote. It can happen in Crimea, or in New York, but the main thing is the result. And only this matters.
Alexander Dugin: Do you think that the "Trump effect" could influence the course of the referendum in Italy in December?
Mr. Salvini: I think that every nation chooses on its own, but the fact that Trump has won despite everything and everyone, and won against the ruling elite, the banks…
Alexander Dugin: and against Soros.
Mr. Salvini: Yes, against Soros, and won despite funding from abroad. All of this says to Italians: become masters again. The Italian Prime Minister wants to change the Constitution.
The current Constitution of Italy says that sovereignty belongs to the people. But this is on paper. The amendment which he wants reads: "sovereignty belongs to the people and the European Union." This won’t pass! Sovereignty belongs to the people, and this is the only way!
Alexander Dugin: Clearly. This position is similar to Putin and Trump’s sense of reality, in which sovereignty is the basis of everything and no one can act against the sovereignty of another. This basic value is vested in the people, both in Russia and the United States.
Mr. Salvini: In the case of Italy, sovereignty means regaining control over the currency. We have received the euro from Brussels, the same currency for 18 countries with different levels of economic development, with different historical contexts. It makes no sense, it is a failed experience. Sovereignty means regaining control over currency, over borders, over banks, over the sea, the mountains - in other words, over the whole country.
Alexander Dugin: How do you see the situation with European politics, such as the possible election of Hoffer, the future of the National Front, and this group in the European Parliament? After Trump’s victory a lot of things will change.
Mr. Salvini: A lot has changed since my last visit to Russia three years ago. Things have changed for the better. Who would have ever thought that in the UK, the majority would vote in favor of Brexit, saying 'no' to the EU in a referendum. Who would have thought that Trump would overcome Clinton? Who would have thought that Marine Le Pen could run in the presidential elections in France? And the same goes for Germany, with Alternative fur Deutschland, which has gotten stronger and is standing for sovereignty within the country. It would be great to see a representative of the Freedom Party of Austria, the party of the struggle for the sovereignty and identity of Austria, a long-time ally of the Northern League, as president of this country. 2017 could become a year of change in the wake of the victories of Trump and Brexit.
Alexander Dugin: One specific question. The influence of the Northern League is rapidly spreading across all of Italy. In principle, the League has always been considered a party of the North of Italy, not the whole country. What is the current strategy of your party in the South of Italy?
Mr. Salvini: I travel the length and breadth of Italy from North to South. In late November, I will go back to Palermo, Sicily. The League originated in the North in order to protect the regions of Lombardy, Veneto, and Piedmont. But at the present moment, the struggle has taken a national scale. The League went to the state level, from North to South, just like the topics of immigration, job markets, protecting the family, and identity, which affect the whole country. At the same time, we remain proponents of autonomy and federalism, the freedom of the people's self-determination. 2017 will be a landmark year for us.
Alexander Dugin: What definition could be given to the ideology of the Northern League and the revival of European and Italian conservatism?
Mr. Salvini: I think that the old definitions of the categories of "right" and "left" have outlived themselves. The elections in the United States and the elections in France show that there is no right nor left. There are globalists, without roots, and supporters of sovereignty, who adhere to the ideas of territory, history, culture, and language. Workers and employers, rich and poor, people with higher education and without it, vote for the League. We are for autonomy, for respecting territorial integrity. Italy is beautiful precisely because it is diverse. The country has 8,000 municipalities with their own histories, with their own "bells" and with their own patron saints.
Therefore, we are fighting for sovereignty in the country, the freedom of choice, protecting the family as a fundamental unit of our society, for the opportunity for youth to realize themselves, and for blocking illegal immigration, especially from Muslim countries, which puts many of our cities on the path to degeneration.
Alexander Dugin: And social justice.
Mr. Salvini: Definitely, yes. The EU has carried out reforms in the employment sector, pensions, and banking sector, reforms that took Italy back to the level from 30 years ago. The unemployment rate is 11.7%. In some southern regions, such as Calabria, two out of three youth do not have a job. The standard of living of half a million children is below the recognized poverty line. Yet such statistics have not been reported in Italy.
Alexander Dugin: I am sure that in the current situation, after Trump’s victory in the US, there is a need in both Russia and Europe to develop a different ideology belonging neither to right nor left. My book on the Fourth Political Theory has finally been published in Italian. I think that this is an invitation to seize upon the scenarios that go beyond the old ideas of the right and the left that are obsolete with the advent of modern European reality.
Mr. Salvini: Yes, yes. I am absolutely sure of this. The League’s ideas are shared by numerous youth, even 14-16 year-olds who no longer divide the world into communists, fascists, or left and right, but want to work, want their family, and want to be sure that they can keep it. They are proud of their history, their language, and the traditions of their ancestors. In the era of Skye, Facebook, Twitter, and McDonald's, these young people want culture, normality, and peace. And in my opinion, these changes in consciousness are very important.
Alexander Dugin: It is extremely important to define a new political subject. I think that the people could act in the role of this subject. Not the individual, not nationality, but the people - the people as an essence, as a self-defining essence.
Mr. Salvini: Indeed, the motto of the campaign led by Marine Le Pen in France is "In the name of the people." This is the purpose, the mission. This slogan seemed to be irrelevant, but now a situation has formed in which the people's interests are confronting the interests of the banks, the elite, the multinational and rootless ones. Now the motto “in the name of the people" can serve as a starting point for us.
Alexander Dugin: This is very important because liberals and globalists accuse us of populism. Perhaps for them the concept of "populism" has a negative value, but it is positive for us, because populism means being with the people, being a friend of the people.
Mr. Salvini: I have a t-shirt with the inscription "I am a populist." This is some kind of "voluntary surrender", but I am proud of such a “fault.”
Alexander Dugin: Your t-shirt with Putin's picture is also famous.
Mr. Salvini: Yes, I wore it in the hall of the European Parliament during a session in Strasbourg, prompting a flurry of controversy.
Alexander Dugin: Thank you, Mr. Salvini, for this interview. We know that you are a true friend of the Russian people, our President, and these friendly feelings are mutual.
Mr. Salvini: I'm interested in good, friendly relations. Today, before coming to you, I met with several Italian entrepreneurs - one is from Rome, the other from Como, the third from Florence, all who want to work with you because there is mutual respect and appreciation for one other and the freedom of trade and commercial activities. I try to contribute to the rapprochement between our two countries.
Alexander Dugin: I express my appreciation for your efforts to lift the sanctions against Russia.
Mr. Salvini: I hope that they will soon be lifted. This is madness, just like the absent recognition of Crimea, a subject which identified itself as part of Russia. It is incredible that international bodies decide who can vote for self-determination and who doesn’t have this right.
Alexander Dugin: Thank you. With such a leader as you, we can hope that Italy will be free, sovereign, and owned by the Italian people.
Mr. Salvini: In the name of the people.
Alexander Dugin: In the name of the people. Thank you.