The relationship of confidence between France and Russia was undermined by the annexation of Crimea and the conflict in Donbass, which led to the introduction by the European Union of sanctions against Russia and the country’s suspension from the G8. However, the authorities maintain very regular dialogue at the highest level with Russia, in particular to resolve the crisis in Ukraine. The Franco-Russian Economic, Financial, Industrial and Trade Council (CEFIC) has resumed periodic meetings since January 2016. The latest meeting of the Committee took place on 17 December 2018 in Paris.
In 2017, President Vladimir Putin visited Versailles on 29 May at the invitation of the French President, and meetings took place between the two foreign ministers in Moscow on 20 June 2017 and 27 February 2018 and in Paris on 8 September 2017 and 27 November 2018. President Macron visited Russia on 24 and 25 May 2018 at the invitation of President Putin, in order to attend the International Economic Forum in Saint Petersburg where France was a guest of honour. President Macron also met President Putin during the Football World Cup final on 15 July 2018 in Moscow, on the sidelines of the 11 November ceremony in Paris in 2018, and at the G20 Summit in Buenos Aires on 30 November 2018.
Trade between France and Russia grew in 2017, increasing by 26% to €13.2 billion. This is explained by a jump in French imports (up 37% to €7.59 billion), partially linked to the increase in oil prices and the continued growth of French exports (up 14% to €2.25 billion). French companies are present in a variety of sectors and are particularly well established in the agrifood, financial and banking sectors, as well as distribution, energy and the automobile industry. Outside of tax incentive zones, France was the second foreign investor in Russian stock at the end of 2016, behind Germany. It was the leading provider of FDI flows, as in 2015.
Further information on the sanctions (in French)
Cultural, academic, scientific and technical cooperation
French cooperation policy in Russia is implemented in the following areas: student exchanges (with close to 4,000 students in 2015, France is the third most popular destination for Russians), promoting France’s attractiveness, and support for reforms in Russia. In the cultural field, the French-Russian Year of Cultural Tourism, which ended on 8 December 2017, gave rise to a number of cultural events marked by the success of the exhibitions Icons of Modern Art: The Shchukin Collection at the Fondation Louis Vuitton and Saint Louis and the Relics of the Sainte-Chapelle in the Kremlin museums in Moscow. New cultural events were held throughout 2018 within the framework of the Franco-Russian year of language and literature (in March, Russia was the guest of honour at the Paris Book Fair).
In Versailles on 29 May 2017, the French and Russian Presidents agreed to create a French-Russian civil societies forum: the Trianon Dialogue.
Further information on the website of the French Institutes in Russia (in French and Russian)