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The combination of these factors creates a strong tendency for Italy's foreign policy to be highly receptive to Russian efforts to gain greater political influence in the EU and to support Russia's efforts to dilute American security interests in Europe.In its relationship with Russia, energy is the most important bilateral issue and the quest for stable energy supplies from Russia frequently forces Italy to compromise on security and political issues.Finmeccanica developed a cooperative relationship with Russian defense industry, signing an agreement in November 1995.The agreement initially focused on helicopters, jet trainers, and avionics, but is planned to be extended to include aircraft manufacture, satellite communications systems, defense industry conversion, radar technologies, and electro-optic sensors.Moscow has traditionally been a highly reliable supplier, to whom Italy turned in the case of difficulties with other suppliers.Italian leaders on both sides of the aisle seem strangely unconcerned about dependence on Russian energy.The new trainer is competing in the short term against a trainer designed by Russias VPK MAPO to supply the Russian Air Force.

In a disastrous press conference in November 2008, Berlusconi described NATO expansion, recognition of Kosovo's independence, and missile defense as "U. Until the 2008 parliamentary elections, the Italian Communist party and various leftist splinter groups were a permanent fixture of the Italian political scene.These businessmen maintain strong ties to the pro-business, free-market-oriented politicians on the right, including the most visible patron of Italy's business elite: PM Silvio Berlusconi.Berlusconi and his cronies profitted personally and handsomely from many of the energy deals between Italy and Russia.Valentino Valentini, a member of parliament and somewhat shadowy figure, operated as Berluscon's key man on Russia, albeit with no staff or even a secretary.Valentini, a Russian-speaker who travelled to Russia several times per month, frequently appeared at Berlusconi's side when he met other world leaders.

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Among the most recent, deserving of mention are the Foreign-Defence Ministerial meeting in Moscow, on which occasion Minister Terzi and Defence Minister Di Paola were received by then-President of the Russian Federation Medvedev; in the same month, President of the Foreign Affairs Commission of the Russian Duma Pushkov made a visit to Rome during which he met with Under-Secretary for Foreign Affairs Dass; on 18 May, in the margins of the G8 meeting at Camp David, Italian Premier Monti met with Russian Premier Medvedev.

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