Salvini was accompanied to Moscow by Gianluca Savoini, the president of the cultural association Lombardia-Russia. Some observers in Italy criticized his presence, asking why a person with no official governmental role participated in meetings in which sensitive topics were apparently being discussed (Huffington Post—Italian edition
, July 17).
Over the past two years, Savoini has promoted closer relations between the League and United Russia. He is also one of the key ideologues within Salvini’s party (Il Foglio
, November 25, 2017). On its website, Savoini’s association is described as a “non-partisan cultural association” with ideas that match “the vision of the world enunciated by the President of the Russian Federation at the 2013 Valdai meeting, which can be summarized in three words: Identity, Sovereignty, Tradition” (Associazione Lombardia-Russia
, February 4, 2014).
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