France and Russia

Presentation

Political relations

The relationship of confidence between France and Russia was undermined by the annexation of Crimea and the conflict in Donbass, which led to the adoption 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.

Visits

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 and 8 September and in Paris on 30 June. The Foreign Affairs Minister visited Moscow again on 27 February 2018.

Economic relations

In 2017, trade between France and Russia starting to rise again, increasing by 26% to €13.2 billion. This can be attributed to the strong increase in French imports (+37% to €7.59 billion), which is partly linked to the increase in oil prices and the continued grown of French exports (+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. Excluding areas with particularly attractive tax rules, France was the second-leading foreign direct investor in Russia after Germany at the end of 2016, and, like in 2015, the leading provider of FDI flows.

For more information on the sanctions (updated), consult: https://www.tresor.economie.gouv.fr/Ressources/8983_ukraine

Cultural, academic, scientific and technical cooperation

French cooperation policy in Russia is implemented in the following areas: student mobility (with close to 4,000 students in 2015, France is the third most popular destination for Russians), promoting France’s attractiveness, support for reforms in Russia. In the cultural field, the French-Russian Year of Cultural Tourism, which was closed 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 will be held throughout 2018 as part 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.

For more information, consult the website of the French Institutes in Russia (in French and Russian)

Updated: May 2018