Marlene Laruelle, opendemocracy.net
image (not from article) fromExcerpt:
De Gaulle was a fierce nationalist, convinced of the uniqueness of the French cultural and political message to the rest of the world. De Gaulle promoted the notion of Francophonie, in many ways similar to the current “Russian world” notion. This notion is founded on a linguistic concept (a large group of French/Russian speakers outside the country itself) and is associated with a prestigious cultural heritage that the state brands as its main public diplomacy tool. It has obvious political ramifications for the defense of a “French/Russian vision” or “French/Russian voice” in the international arena. It also serves to justify opaque post-colonial policies, such as “French Africa” of the 1960-1970s, and Russia’s position in the “Near Abroad” today. In both cases, commercial and military interests of the former colonial centre overlap with the defense of clientelist relations with the post-colonial states, driven by rent-based regimes.