The success of Kremlin-connected Italian populists alarmed USA

American intelligence may limit cooperation with Italy because of the increased risk of leaks to Moscow

US authorities are trying to predict how last Sunday’s election in Italy could affect further relations between Rome and Washington.

The prospect of eurosceptic populist parties with strong ideological ties with the Kremlin, will form the next government of Italy will become the dominant force in the framework of other agreements is also cause for concern in Washington and in Brussels.

A direct consequence of the fact that the ruling coalition will include the right-wing party “League” or advocating anti-establishment “five star Movement”, can be the limitation of cooperation in the intelligence field, say representatives of the American authorities.

“Followed by a sharp restriction of intelligence information we provide to Italy, although this will not affect the exchange of information in combating jihadists and terrorist threats,” said anonymous source in American counterintelligence.

The American security services have already started to think about what intelligence information can provide a new the Italian authorities in view of the increased risk of leaks to Moscow, said a source. “Risks in the security line, obviously, will grow”, – he added. According to him, the restrictions may be determined by those who appoint the heads of the foreign and defense Ministers, and security services.

And it will depend on what the coalition government will be formed after the elections, in which the most votes received the “five star Movement”, and the second place was taken by right-wing coalition headed by Silvio Berlusconi. Negotiations can take several weeks and result in the fact that President Sergio Mattarella will form a “government of the President”.

Inter-party ties

Roberto Gangi, Lavarini of “Brothers of Italy”, the far-right sister party of the “League,” which includes the right-a coalition that includes the party “Forward, Italy” Berlusconi told Russian channel Sputnik TV that his party has already set their sights on the post of Minister of defense or internal Affairs, in addition to several Deputy Ministerial posts in any right coalition government, which may be formed.

According to him, such a government will work towards the removal of Western sanctions against Russia, imposed after Russia’s annexation of Crimea, and the establishment of “special dialogue with Moscow.” As stated, Lavarini, his party intends to seek a review of all international agreements, including membership of Italy in the Eurozone and NATO, instead establishing strategic ties with Russia.

“Five star movement” and “the League” to oppose Western sanctions, insisting that they have caused Italy not less damage than Russia. In 2016 the regions in the North of Italy, which controlled “League”, adopted a resolution calling on Rome to approve the annexation of the Crimea and recognize the Peninsula as part of Russia.

In the same year, a delegation of politicians from “the League” and “Brothers of Italy” visited Crimea along with half a dozen victims of the sanctions of Italian businessmen.

Moscow is flirting with “Brothers of Italy” and “Movement five stars” and “the League”, as well as with other European far-right movements and parties that oppose the establishment sympathetic to the Kremlin and is ready to accept Russia as a counterweight to the EU. From “the League” has a cooperation agreement with the Russian ruling party “United Russia”.

Members of the “five star Movement” speak positively about military intervention in Syria in support of President Bashar al-Assad and criticized NATO, accusing the Alliance of inciting anti-government protests in Ukraine, which overthrew a Pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych. “Five star movement” also calls to remove European sanctions against Russia. Italy ranks second in EU in terms of exports to Russia, and in connection with the sanctions, the volume decreased by almost half.

Relations between Italy, Russia and the West

The relationship between American and Italian intelligence services are not as close as with other Western countries and NATO members.

Intelligence relations between the United States and Italy was shaken in 2009, when the Italian court in absentia has sentenced the former head of the CIA and 22 American citizens, mostly of agents of the Ministry, for participation in the kidnapping of a Muslim cleric in Milan in 2003 and his extradition to Egypt.

Due to the large influence of the Italian Communist party during the cold war, the country stayed away from confrontation, and Christian democratic governments have actively developed business and energy ties with Moscow. In 1960-e years half of the imports into the Union of the industrial equipment was delivered from Italy, while Fiat built a huge factory in the city, renamed Tolyatti in honor of the leader of Italian Communists.

The center-left and center-right Italian government is also actively built the business and energy ties with Russia after the fall of the Berlin wall, especially the administration of Berlusconi, who has formed a close friendship with Putin. In 2015 Berlusconi with Putin visited the Crimea.

Speaking on Monday in Moscow, the head of the Duma Committee on international Affairs Leonid Slutsky has expressed confidence that, given the election results, Russian-Italian relations will improve.

In 2014, amid reports that the leader of the French “National front” received loans in Russia, the leader of the “League” Matteo Salvini said his party never funding from Moscow has not received.