On Friday September 10th, 2015 Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi met Russian President Vladimir Putin in Crimea discussing the role of the Kremlin in the fight against terrorism and the ongoing relations between Russia, the European Unione and one political Italian side.
Berlusconi also paid an official visit to the monument which celebrates the soldier and the victims who fought in Crimea during the the Second World War and the XIX century; according to the official statement published on the Russia Presidency official website, Putin promised Berlusconi to research, find and write on the monument the names of the Italians who died in Crimea.
The two politicians met the Italian local community that greeted them; Putin’s staff and Russian official media underlined the momnet when the Kremlin’s leader talked and amused a little girl.
Analysing the meeting from political perspectives, it is important to emphasize the long friendship between Berlusconi and Putin whose centrality had captured the attention of the West during the Russian leader’s first presidency and the years of Berlusconi’s government.
Throughout the first decade of the XXI century this friendship had helped the European Union to improve and to strengthen its relations and partnership with the Russian Federation; as a consequence of this cooperation, Brussels had accentuated its dependence on Russian energy resources, particularly oil and natural gas. Only when the figure of Angela Merkel emerged as the leader of the European Unione, did the Old Continent changed its Energy Security Policy and started to find new energy import routes.
Brief historical background
The presence of the Italian comunity in Crimea is a consequence of two different military campaigns conducted by the Kingdom of Sardinia and the Kingdom of Italy in the region. Indeed, Italian soldiers had fought twice in Crimea; firstly during the Crimean War (October 1853 – February 1856) who opposed the Russian Empire against a coalition of forces composed of France, the United Kingdom, the Ottoman Empire and the Kingdom of Sardinia. The Italian side lost 2,050 soldiers in Crimea but obtain the French support which allowed the Kingdom of Sardinia to obtain Lombardy after the 1859 Franco – Austrian war.
When Germany started its invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941 during the Second World War, the Italian government represented by the Prime Minister Benito Mussolini supported the German ally sending the Italian Expedition Corp in Russia. At the end of the offensive the Italian Kingdom had lost more than 89 thousand soldier between dead, prisoners and refugees.