On September 13th news on Russian covert financing of political parties and officials became a hot topic for the world's major media. Millions of readers have learned about Russia having given at least $300 million secretly to political parties, biased think tanks, officials, and politicians in more than two dozen countries since 2014. Source of the news, the US State Department summary of US intelligence data, also mentioned Russia's plans to transfer hundreds of millions more to gain political influence and impact election outcomes, with an ultimate goal to soften sanctions.

Interesting You cannot continue to have one foot in two shoes, – Alberto de Filippis about Fratelli d'Italia

US calls Russian election meddling "an assault on sovereignty"

"The Kremlin and its proxies have transferred these funds to shape foreign political environments in Moscow’s favor", – the summary said.

The United States State Department sent a cable to American embassies around the world on September 12th to provide key talking points for US diplomats in their conversations with foreign officials. The next day, spokesman for the US Department of State Mr. Ned Price said at the Department Press Briefing that Russian election meddling was "an assault on sovereignty", similar to Russia’s war on Ukraine.

"To fight this, in many ways we have to put a spotlight on it", – he said.

US officials say the aim of the campaign to reveal details about Russian political interference and influence is to strengthen democratic resilience around the world.

The campaign came to the public right when Senator Adolfo Urso, chair of the national security committee of the Italian parliament (COPASIR) and one of the closest advisors of Giorgia Meloni, the leader of the Brothers of Italy party (FDI), arrived to Washington with an official visit.

The news about Russian secret financing surfaced less than two weeks before major elections in Italy. Is it a coincidence or a well-thought warning? If a warning indeed, then to whom?

Giorgia Meloni is leading in the polls, she has a solid chance to become the next Prime Minister of Italy.

The previous visit of her trusted colleague and ally, Adolfo Urso, has been paid to the capital of Ukraine Kyiv just days before his visit to Washington.

"Italy supports Ukraine together with its European partners and Western allies",
– Urso tweeted.

Urso declared support for Ukraine and joint actions with US

In Washington, Urso declared that FDI would continue to work side-by-side with the US, supporting Ukraine, energy security cooperation, and joint actions to face Russian and Chinese expansionism in the Mediterranean and Africa.

"For the Americans, the main thing is that Italy maintains its commitment to the Ukrainian government and people. A commitment that has guaranteed Atlantic and European unity in a very delicate moment", – explained Senator Urso.

The two visits linked together bring a clear and reassuring message that FdI and the future government of Italy will support Ukraine in its war against Russia and will be loyal to the Euro-Atlantic values and strategies. It seems the perception of Giorgia Meloni in the US is positive. A fine detail to prove this assumption is a note, received by Adolfo Ursofrom Kurt Volker, a prominent US diplomat during the Republican president who is married to a Georgian wife, a country that suffered from the Russian invasion in 2008. Urso added a photo of the note to his recent tweet.

Volker's statements on FDI politicians

"Senator – Please feel free to tell the press later that we met and that I am reassured that FDI and you personally are committed to NATO, Ukraine, EU sanctions on Russia… And that FDI has zero ties to Russia. Grazie! Kurt".

Voker's statements on FDI politicians

The importance of this note can’t be underestimated, knowing it’s written right after the US State Department revealed the existence of an intelligence dossier on Moscow's covert funding to foreign parties, politicians, officials, state companies and think tanks.

One can say the note contradicts the interview Kurt Volker gave to La Repubblica on September 14th, in which he expressed concerns that some FDI politicians might have ties with the Kremlin. However, we do not see any contradiction, we rather understand these two Volker declarations as a whole. He warns Melloni against the toxic connections of her party members.

In the interview former ambassador Volker comments on the Kremlin’s efforts "to promote division in our societies for years", saying that "Lega’s and Berlusconi’s sympathies for Russia were known, but now the constant refrain is that Brothers of Italy have also received some help".

Volker reminded that Lega’s Gianluca Savoini, a top aide to Italian deputy prime minister Matteo Salvini, had held covert talks to tunnel tens of millions of dollars of Russian oil money to Lega, during the famous conversation with Russians in Metropol hotel in Moscow on October 18th, 2018.

Salvini and Savoini in Moscow / Lombardiarussia / Facebook

Volker also mentioned that Berlusconi "has developed a close personal relationship with Putin, and strong business relations with Russia".

The histories of Salvini and Berlusconi's relations with Putin, the Kremlin, and their pro-Russian attitude towards sanctions make them vulnerable to Russian influence, to say the least.

Answering a question if the alarm concerns FDI, Kurt Volker said "I have no direct personal evidence, but it is a constant refrain that there has been some assistance. If you look closely at their policy, some aspects reflect Russian positions."

Meloni's lawsuit over allegations about Kremlin funding

Recently Giorgia Meloni announced a lawsuit against La Repubblica for the interview with former US ambassador Volker: "Our sources of funding are all verifiable. I am sure that Fratelli d'Italia does not take money from foreigners", – she told Italian Radio 24. "Repubblica and Volker [must] bring us the evidence. Since they are not there, I think that the lawsuit is inevitable".

This may seem as a bit of over-reacting, because together the note and interview proclaim –everything is ok with Giorgia Meloni and Adolfo Urso, please pay attention to some FdI members associated with Russia, they could be dangerous for the Brothers of Italy. Like FdI member of Piedmont Regional Council, Maurizio Marrone, closely connected with Russians and their puppets’ regimes in the occupied territories of the East of Ukraine.

Marrone is a bright example of a toxic asset for FdI, that they would rather get rid off.

Perhaps Giorgia Meloni should double-check her allies from the coalition and her own party, and think twice before appointing any of them to the government. Finally, Italian politicians expected to work for the best interests of Italian people, not for Putin’s regime. Putin's Russia brought full scale bloody war to Europe.

Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the European Commission, in her recent 2022 State of the Union Address clearly stated that the European Parliament never debated the State of our Union with war raging on European soil.

She said "This is not only a war unleashed by Russia against Ukraine. This is a war on our energy, a war on our economy, a war on our values and a war on our future. This is about autocracy against democracy. And I stand here with the conviction that with courage and solidarity, Putin will fail and Europe will prevail."

It seems the Brothers of Italy proved themselves to be skillful strategists again. If they are prejudiced by the Democrats in the US who support the Democratic Party of Italy (former communists), then they work with the Republicans on the issues that had started before president Biden was elected.

Italy is expected to stand strong and united with its partners and allies. To succeed it needs an independent and strong government, thus Italy can’t afford corrupt or enemy bought politicians in the government.

Let’s see if the warning will work.