Italy Needs Russian Oil, Gas – and Courts Russians to Buy Its Luxury Goods

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Gone are the times when the Italian Communist Party preserved its political and strategic autonomy when competing in domestic politics, while supporting the Soviet Union in international politics.

Firmly in the Western camp, all Italian governments over the past few decades were happy enough to be members of the two most important organizations: NATO and the European Union. Traditionally, however, no Italian government and no Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs played an especially active role. Membership in any international organization means, for most Italians, to be part of that organization, not necessarily to constantly take part in any of the activities of those organizations. Loyalty was the name of the game played by the Italians, not voice – that is, advocacy or dissent. Without questioning any choice, all subsequent (and there were many) Italian governments accepted and shared the decisions made within NATO and the European Union. More autonomy appeared only when dealing with the oil-producing countries of the Middle East.

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