Macron and Putin fight the same battle… against environmentalists!

27 June by Yorgos Mitralias

Illustration Jorge Alaminos

The coincidence is terribly eloquent: On the same day, Wednesday June 21, 2023, almost at the same time, Macron and Putin declared war on all those who take the protection of nature, humanity and our planet seriously! Macron and his government decided and announced the dissolution of the important environmentalist collective “Soulèvements de la Terre” (Earth Uprisings). And Putin has decided and announced the banning of the international non-governmental organization WWF (World Wildlife Fund)! In short, Putin-Macron are fighting the same battle…

But why are these two presidents and their regimes so relentlessly anti-ecological? In both cases, the reasons are as transparent as the true motivations of their authors. The Russian authorities’ order states that WWF is banned because “WWF’s initiatives target large companies active in the energy, oil and gas sectors, as well as those involved in the development of mineral and precious metal deposits”. And also that “WWF carries out activities aimed at preventing the implementation of the country’s policy on Arctic industrial development and the exploitation of natural resources in Arctic territories”. Not to mention that WWF has also “collected information on the environmental situation in Russia’s regions” and “prepared tendentious assessments” aimed, it claims, at “hindering the country’s economic development”!

Compared to Macron and his government, who prefer to talk about the alleged “violence” of the “Earth Uprisings” to justify its dissolution, the merit of the very authoritarian Russian president is that he doesn’t mince his words, that he tells - in his own way - the truth: obviously, WWF has done in Russia everything the Russian regime accuses it of having done, because it does the same thing all over the world! No surprise, then, if WWF is banned by someone like Putin, who just a few years ago liked to express his attachment to fossil fuels by saying that climate change could only benefit Russia because... it would turn Siberia into a garden (! ) Moreover, before the WWF was banned, Putin and his cronies had already declared Greenpeace “undesirable” as representing a “threat to the foundations of Russia’s constitutional order and security” and seeking to “unconstitutionally overthrow power”...

Obviously, Macron’s infamous Minister of the Interior doesn’t enjoy the freedom of expression that characterizes Putin and his Prosecutor General, when he speaks of the “violence” of the “Earth Uprisings”. But the French press abounds with reports that the ban on this environmental movement, which shines by its ability to mobilize thousands of demonstrators, not only directly serves the interests of agribusiness, but is also practically made to order by its main representative, the FNSEA union of large-scale farmers and other agribusiness bosses! So it’s no coincidence that the FNSEA’s main leader, who is himself both a large-scale cereal farmer and a major agribusiness boss, was able to “persuade” Macron to ban “uprisings” by campaigning with alarmist statements such as “the impunity of Earth Uprisings will lead everyone to civil war”.

The major difference between Macron’s France and Putin’s Russia is that, in Russia, hardly anyone dares to publicly criticize the WWF ban, whereas in France, thousands of people are criticizing the dissolution of the “Soulèvements de la Terre” and thousands more are demonstrating in dozens of cities against this umpteenth anti-democratic act by Macron. However, this difference between the two regimes tends to diminish if we take into account the fact that Macron’s police have been making dozens of arrests of “Soulèvements de la Terre” and other environmental activists in recent days, just as Putin and his repressive forces have been doing against his own environmentalists for a long time now…

In reality, the dissolution of the “Uprisings” and the banning of the WWF are not exceptions to the rule, but rather two emblematic manifestations of the same policy of destruction of nature pursued by global capitalism and its political personnel! And again, it’s no coincidence that their media campaigns against the latest scarecrow they have invented to frighten public opinion, eco-terrorism, and their repressive policies against what everyone in this good world calls “eco-terrorists”, are spreading to the east and west, north and south of this capitalist world. For it’s a fact that this world of profit Profit The positive gain yielded from a company’s activity. Net profit is profit after tax. Distributable profit is the part of the net profit which can be distributed to the shareholders. at any price, which is beginning to fear the increasingly massive and radical popular revolts provoked by the consequences of its (anti)environmental policies, prefers to take the lead and repress ever more brutally before it’s too late to contain the popular tsunami already looming on the horizon.

At a time when the major powers are only worsening the climate crisis, and in Europe we’re practically standing by and watching the terrible “ecocide” caused by the destruction of the Ukrainian Kakhovska dam, reacting and demonstrating in the streets against the growing repression of environmental movements and activists by our governments is more than just a militant duty. As Greta Thunberg repeated again while demonstrating, surrounded by “Earth Uprisings” activists the day after its dissolution, “it’s a question of the right to demonstrate and the defense of life”!...

Yorgos Mitralias

Journalist, Giorgos Mitralias is one of the founders and leaders of the Greek Committee Against the Debt, a member of the international CADTM network.



8 rue Jonfosse
4000 - Liège- Belgique

00324 60 97 96 80