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The Kremlin’s marriage of convenience with the European far right



Putin’s strong-arm tactics in Eastern Ukraine and ‘moral, family-based’ policies have won him ardent support from far-right European groups. But they should not be under any illusions…на русском языке

For its massive information war waged against the Euromaidan protests and the consequent revolution that has toppled the authoritarian regime of pro-Russian Viktor Yanukovych, the Kremlin presumably mobilised all its lobbying networks in the West. This revealed what experts have long suspected, namely that today’s European extreme right parties and organisations are the most ardent supporters of Putin’s political agenda.

Today’s European extreme right parties and organisations are the most ardent supporters of Putin’s political agenda

Moscow money talks

Crimea, 16 March. Here they are: international ‘observers’ at the illegal and illegitimate ‘referendum’ held in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea occupied by the Russian ‘little green men.’ The overwhelming majority of the ‘observers’ are representatives of a broad spectrum of European extreme-right parties and organisations: Austria’s Freiheitliche Partei (FPÖ) and Bündnis Zukunft, Belgian Vlaams Belang and Parti Communautaire National-Européen, Bulgarian Ataka, French Front National, Hungarian Jobbik, Italian Lega Nord and Fiamma Tricolore, Polish Samoobrona, Serbian ‘Dveri’ movement, Spanish Plataforma per Catalunya. They were invited to legitimise the ‘referendum’ by the Eurasian Observatory for Democracy & Elections (EODE) – a smart name for an ‘international NGO’ founded and headed by Belgian neo-Nazi Luc Michel, a loyal follower of Belgian convicted war-time collaborationist and neo-Nazi Jean-François Thiriart. Presented by Michel as ‘a non-aligned NGO’, the EODE does not conceal its anti-Westernism and loyalty to Putin, and is always there to put a stamp of ‘legitimacy’ on all illegitimate political developments, whether in Crimea, Transnistria, South Ossetia or Abkhazia. Moscow’s money talks.

Yet the EODE is only a drop in the ocean of extensive co-operation between the Kremlin and the European far right. Front National’s Marine Le Pen now visits Moscow on a seemingly regular basis: in August 2013 and April 2014 she had meetings with Vice Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin and Speaker of the Russian parliament Sergey Naryshkin. Le Pen’s adviser on geopolitical matters Aymeric Chauprade participated, as an ‘expert’, in the meeting of the Committee for Family, Women and Children Issues in the Russian parliament to endorse the laws banning adoption of Russian orphan children by LGBT couples. Several former members of the Front National run ProRussia.TV, an extension of the Kremlin’s international PR instruments such as Russia Today and the Voice of Russia.

Front National’s leader Marine Le Pen and Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin in Moscow, 2013

Front National’s leader Marine Le Pen and Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin in Moscow, 2013

The Paris-based, Russian Institute of Democracy and Co-operation (yet another smart name) co-organised a conference in Leipzig on ‘family issues’, featuring speakers such as Thilo Sarrazin who is known for his attacks on multiculturalism, Jürgen Elsässer, chief editor of the far-right Compactmagazine, and Frauke Petry, a spokesperson of the Eurosceptic party Alternative für Deutschland.

Jobbik’s leader Gábor Vona gave a lecture at Moscow State University at the invitation of Russian right-wing extremist Aleksandr Dugin; according to Vona, it would be better for Hungary to leave the EU and join the Russia-dominated Eurasian Union. Dugin himself gave a talk in the United Kingdom at the invitation of the far-right Traditional Britain Group and wrote a letter of support to Nikolaos Michaloliakos, the now jailed leader of the Greek neo-Nazi Golden Dawn, whose political programme urges Greek society to turn away from ‘American Zionists’ and ‘Western usury’ towards Russia. Just a few days ago, Bulgarian Ataka’s leader Volen Siderov launched his party’s European election campaign in Moscow.

Notorious Norwegian mass murderer and terrorist Anders Breivik called Putin ‘a fair and resolute leader worthy of respect’

The list of the instances of the Kremlin’s co-operation with the European far right could be continued, but it seems more important to discuss the underlying motifs of this co-operation as well as the dangers that this co-operation poses to European democracy.

European extreme right perspectives

First of all, the European extreme right parties and organisations respect the Kremlin for its might and vigour. In his manifesto, the notorious Norwegian mass murderer and terrorist Anders Breivik called Putin ‘a fair and resolute leader worthy of respect’. Italian far-right Forza Nuova salutes Putin’s Russia as ‘a new beacon of civilisation, identity and courage for other European peoples.’ FPÖ’s Andreas Mölzer hails Putin as a hero who ‘has managed to steer the post-Communist, crisis-ridden Russia into calmer waters.’ For the European extreme right, Putin is a powerful leader, who has challenged the political status quo of the West and has questioned the global role of the US, which the European extreme right openly loathe. The allegedly anti-globalist agenda of the Kremlin – which, in reality, is a concealed attempt at seizing and securing the position of the global superpower for Russia itself – attracts the European far left too, especially in Germany, France, Greece, Portugal and the Czech Republic.

Eurasianist ideologue Aleksandr Dugin and Jobbik’s leader Gábor Vona in Moscow, 2013

Eurasianist ideologue Aleksandr Dugin and Jobbik’s leader Gábor Vona in Moscow, 2013

Russia’s rise as an anti-Western power is seen by the European extreme right as an amazing example of national sovereignty and self-determination. These ideas are most prominent in today’s Eurosceptic rhetoric of the extreme right parties based in the EU, ‘a technocratic monster that only serves the interests of bankers’ (Le Pen), from which, according to Geert Wilders of the Dutch far right Partij voor de Vrijheid, European nation-states should ‘liberate’ themselves. Forza Nuova even calls upon Putin to destroy ‘the Europe of technocrats.’

Weakened global security may be interpreted as an excuse for enforcing the anti-immigration agenda

European neutrality, which verges on national isolationism as the logical consequence of self-determination driven to extremity, is also a popular idea among the European extreme right. It serves as a euphemistic argument in favour of ‘Fortress Europe’ and justifies non-interference in international matters outside Europe. Moscow’s smart trick that prevented the US military from crushing Bashar al-Assad’s murderous regime was celebrated across the broad extreme right spectrum. Preventing the West from stopping the most brutal regimes is presented as promoting multipolarity, but this multipolarity is a sham: its only aim is to undermine democracy globally. In Putin’s Russia, European right-wing extremists see a force that can indeed hamper the world’s democratic development. Less global democracy means less global security, and weakened global security may be interpreted as [… read more:]


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