Skip to comments.Putin's Western Allies: Why Europe's Far Right Is on the Kremlin's Side
Posted on 03/29/2014 9:48:21 AM PDT by annalex
Gabor Vona, president of the Hungarian radical right-wing party "Jobbik," delivers a speech at a rally in Budapest, March 15, 2014.
(Bernadett Szabo / Courtesy Reuters)
Given that one of Russian President Vladimir Putins stated reasons for invading Crimea was to prevent Nazis from coming to power in Ukraine, it is perhaps surprising that his regime is growing closer by the month to extreme right-wing parties across Europe. But, in both cases, Putins motives are not primarily ideological. In Ukraine, he simply wants to grab territory that he believes rightly belongs to him. In the European Union, he hopes that his backing of fringe parties will destabilize his foes and install in Brussels politicians who will be focused on dismantling the EU rather than enlarging it.
In Hungary, for example, Putin has taken the Jobbik party under his wing. The third-largest party in the country, Jobbik has supporters who dress in Nazi-type uniforms, spout anti-Semitic rhetoric, and express concern about Israeli colonization of Hungary. The party has capitalized on rising support for nationalist economic policies, which are seen as an antidote for unpopular austerity policies and for Hungarys economic liberalization in recent years. Russia is bent on tapping into that sentiment. In May 2013, Kremlin-connected right-wing Russian nationalists at the prestigious Moscow State University invited Jobbik party president Gabor Vona to speak. Vona also met with Russia Duma leaders including Ivan Grachev, chairman of the State Duma Committee for Energy and Vasily Tarasyuk, deputy chairman of the Committee on Natural Resources and Utilization, among others. On the Jobbik website, the visit is characterized as a major breakthrough which made clear that Russian leaders consider Jobbik as a partner. In fact, there have been persistent rumors that Jobbiks enthusiasm is paid for with Russian rubles. The party has also repeatedly criticized Hungarys Euro-Atlantic connections and the European Union. And, more recently, it called the referendum in Crimea exemplary, a dangerous word in a country with extensive co-ethnic populations in Romania and Slovakia. It seems that the party sees Putins new ethnic politics as being aligned with its own revisionist nationalism.
The Kremlins ties to Frances extreme-right National Front have also been growing stronger. Marine Le Pen, the party leader, visited Moscow in June 2013 at the invitation of State Duma leader Sergei Naryshkin, a close associate of Putins. She also met with Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin and discussed issues of common concern, such as Syria, EU enlargement, and gay marriage. Frances ProRussia TV, which is funded by the Kremlin, is staffed by editors with close ties to the National Front who use the station to espouse views close to National Fronts own perspective on domestic and international politics. The National Front wishes to replace the EU and NATO with a pan-European partnership of independent nations, which, incidentally, includes Russia and would be driven by a trilateral Paris-Berlin-Moscow alliance. Le Pens spokesman, Ludovic De Danne, recently recognized the results of the Crimea referendum and stated in an interview with Voice of Russia radio that, historically, Crimea is part of Mother Russia. In the same interview, he mentioned that he had visited Crimea several times in the past year. Marine Le Pen also visited Crimea in June 2013.
The list of parties goes on. Remember Golden Dawn, the Greek fascist party that won 18 seats in Greeces parliament in 2012? Members use Nazi symbols at rallies, emphasize street fighting, and sing the Greek version of the Nazi Party anthem. The Greek government imprisoned Nikos Michaloliakos, its leader, and stripped parliamentary deputies of their political immunity before slapping them with charges of organized violence. But the party continues to take to the streets. Golden Dawn has never hidden its close connections to Russias extreme right, and is thought to receive funds from Russia. One Golden Dawnlinked website reports that Michaloliakos even received a letter in prison from Moscow State University professor and former Kremlin adviser Alexander Dugin, one of the authors of Putins Eurasian ideology. It was also Dugin who hosted Jobbik leader Vona when he visited Moscow. In his letter, Dugin expressed support for Golden Dawns geopolitical positions and requested to open a line of communication between Golden Dawn and his think tank in Moscow. Golden Dawns New York website reports that Michaloliakos has spoken out clearly in favor of an alliance and cooperation with Russia, and away from the naval forces of the Atlantic.
Finally, a cable made public by WikiLeaks shows that Bulgarias far right Ataka party has close links to the Russian embassy. Reports that Russia funds Ataka have swirled for years, but have never been verified. But evidence of enthusiasm for Russias foreign policy goals is open for all to see. Radio Bulgaria reported on March 17 that Atakas parliamentary group has insisted that Bulgaria should recognize the results from the referendum for Crimeas joining to the Russian Federation. Meanwhile, party leader Volen Siderov has called repeatedly for Bulgaria to veto EU economic sanctions for Russia.
In addition to their very vocal support for Russias annexation of Crimea within the EU, Jobbik, National Front, and Ataka all sent election observers to validate the Crimea referendum (as did the Austrian Freedom Party, the Belgian Vlaams Belang party, Italys Forza Italia and Lega Nord, and Polands Self-Defense, in addition to a few far-left parties, conspicuously Germanys Die Linke). Their showing was organized by the Russia-based Eurasian Observatory For Democracy & Elections, a far-right NGO opposed to Western ideology. The EODE specializes in monitoring elections in self-proclaimed republics (Abkhazia, Transnistria, Nagorno-Karabakh) allied with Moscow, according to its website.
The Putin governments cordial relations with Europes far right sit oddly, to say the least, with his opposition to Nazis in the Ukrainian government. Yet Putins dislike for Ukrainian fascists has nothing to do with ideology. It has to do with the fact that they are Ukrainian nationalists. The countrys Svoboda and Right Sector parties, which might do well in the postViktor Yanukovych Ukraine, stand for independence in a country that Putin does not believe should exist separate from Russia.
Similarly, Russian support of the far right in Europe has less to do with ideology than with his desire to destabilize European governments, prevent EU expansion, and help bring to power European governments that are friendly to Russia. In that sense, several European countries may only be one bad election away from disaster. In fact, some would say that Hungary has already met it. As support for Jobbik increases, the anti-democratic, center-right government of Prime Minister Viktor Orban has tacked heavily to the right and recently signed a major nuclear deal with Russia. Russia plans to lend Hungary ten billion euro to construct two new reactors at its Paks nuclear plant, making Hungary even more dependent for energy on Russia. Jobbiks Vona wants to go even further, taking Hungary out of the EU and joining Russias proposed Eurasian Union.
European parliamentary elections, which are scheduled for the end of May, are expected to result in a strong showing for the far right. A weak economy, which was weakened further by the European Central Banks austerity policies, has caused the extreme right vote to surge. Current polls show the far-right parties in France and Holland winning the largest share of seats in their national delegations. Brussels strategists worry that 20 percent of members of the new European parliament could be affiliated with parties that wish to abolish the EU, double the current number. That could cause an EU government shutdown to rival the dysfunction of Washington and deal a major blow to efforts to enlarge the Union and oppose Russian expansionism.
It is strange to think that Putins strategy of using right-wing extremist political parties to foment disruption and then take advantage -- as he did in Crimea -- could work in southern and western Europe as well. Or that some of the extreme right parties in the European parliament, who work every day to delegitimize the European Union and whose numbers are growing, may be funded by Russia. Yet these possibilities cannot be dismissed. Russia might soon be able to disrupt the EU from within.
To counter Russia, European leaders should start launching public investigations into external funding of extreme-right political parties. If extensive Russia connections are found, it would be important to publicize that fact and then impose sanctions on Russia that would make it more difficult for it to provide such support. Pro-European parties must find a way to mobilize voters who are notoriously unwilling to vote in European parliament elections. Europe will also have to rethink the austerity policies that have worsened the grievances of many Europeans and pushed them to support the anti-system, anti-European right. Although Germany has banned extreme right parties from representation, other countries have not. Germany may have therefore underestimated the extent of damage austerity policies could do to the European project and should rethink how its excessive budget cutting, monetary prudence, and export surpluses are affecting politics in the rest of Europe.
Putins challenge to Europe must be taken seriously. Rather than making another land grab in his back yard, he might watch patiently from the sidelines at the end of May as pro-Russia far-right parties win a dramatic election victory in European parliamentary elections. These elections could weaken the European Union and bring Russias friends on the far right closer to power.
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Putin? Russia? I'm not surprised that the "right-wing" in Europe sees some good in him.
I'm a pro-freedom guy who believes in individualism and small government. I don't think I have a lot in common with the European "right-wing".
Putin greatest transgression was that he performed a nationalist action. Nationalism is the real transgression. The EU elite and the progressive “multicultural” Obama led Left are one world globalists. They loathe nationalism. However the rest of the world has not signed on. Russia, China and most of the third world remain fervently patriotic and nationalistic. what is more this Crimea episode has demonstrated that the real power and influence of the West, as it enters a post Christian, neo pagan decadent era, is in decline. Western leaders have been reduced to grumbling, whining and pouting. That is no substitute for inspiring leadership or effective policies. Events have evolved despite their futile objections.
But “far right” in European usage can mean anything from genuinely far-right (e.g. Golden Dawn), to simply Euroskeptic (e.g. UKIP), to supportive of traditional European or national culture or even the classical-liberal idea of liberty against the multiculturalist, corporatist ideas being imposed from Brussels (e.g. the Dutch PVV). The common thread is being anti-EU, and at very least Russia is the enemy of their enemy.
In England, “far-right” is a generic insult, and has no relation to the insultee’s political philosophy.
Like “homophobe” in this country.
Real American conservatives have nothing in common with the European right-wing, the European left, or Putinism. Some muddle-minded folks here think they’ve got something in common with Putin, but they don’t. They’re just confused or blinded by their anger with Obama.
Interesting, isn't this what Russia has done passing transparency and indoctrination laws against ultra left Homofascists and foreign funded ultra leftist NGO's?
Pro-European parties must find a way to mobilize voters who are notoriously unwilling to vote in European parliament elections. Europe will also have to rethink the austerity policies that have worsened the grievances of many Europeans and pushed them to support the anti-system, anti-European right.
Right, the Socialist will have to buy more votes with Other People's Money to counter a resurgence of moral values.
Although Germany has banned extreme right parties from representation, other countries have not.
Well, we need to get busy and ban political parties opposed to the EU.
Rather than making another land grab in his back yard, Putin might watch patiently from the sidelines at the end of May as pro-Russia far-right parties win a dramatic election victory in European parliamentary elections. These elections could weaken the European Union and bring Russias friends on the far right closer to power.
Unless the EU can buy enough Useful Idiots to vote themselves and everybody else into administrative and debt serfdom.
Mitchell A. Orenstein has a plan!
Thank you for the ping.
Given that one of Russian President Vladimir Putins stated reasons for invading Crimea was to prevent Nazis from coming to power in Ukraine, it is perhaps surprising that his regime is growing closer by the month to extreme right-wing parties across Europe.
write for them.
That is very vague. European right-wing is the same as American right-wing, albeit adapted in each country to the points of the greatest tactical advantage. In UK it is Euroscepticism, in France -- French nationalism and traditional Catholic culture, in Hungary -- similar to the French, in Bulgaria -- if we single out Ataka mentioned in the article, -- it is anti-EU with a good mix of social democracy; in Holland it is anti-immigration and anti-Islamism.
I can see how Euroscepticism might be attracted to Putin. But Putin is very pro-immigration at home. I don't see how invading Crimea, no matter how many Russian ethnics live there, can be viewed as a nationalistic act. The Crimea invasion did nothing but harm to Russia, and violated the national integrity of a sovereign country.
individualism and small government.
Right wingers generally do, but both in America and especially in Europe, we come to see that these goals cannot be resolved without autocratic elements such as strong borders, nationalist internal politics and, preferably, strong leadership.
That is a very myopic view. How is invading a sovereign nation for the sake of an ethnic Russian minority that already had autonomy, a "nationalist action"? It did nothing but harm to both Ukraine and Russia. Nationalist respect national borders.
Putin's internal policies have nothing nationalist about them. For example, Russia is flooded by cheap labor from Asia, with ritualistic lamb slaughter and bottom-up communal prayers to Mecca taking place on main streets in Moscow.
I want to know why anyone thought the expansion of NATO was a good thing after the collapse of the Warsaw Pact.
How many tens of millions of Russians have died from invaders from their west over the last 2 centuries?
That would justify some rhetorical sympathies, but taking foreign money is a risky step for a political organisation. Are they that foolish?
Even rhetorically, it is one thing to admire Russian laws resisting gay propaganda, another -- voicing support for the Crimea invasion.
I do not classify myself as "right-wing" because it seems to mean everything and nothing.
I think human nature is a sin nature.
I do not believe we can create heaven on earth.
I expect my government to protect me from force from others.
I want to be left alone by my government.
I don't think "right-wing" fits me at all, because that word has been twisted beyond all recognition.
Putin recently said he would stand with Israel...
Yeah, sheer left-wing idiocy.
The Eastern Europe practically demanded it and given the events in Georgia in 2008, RF fomenting trouble in Estonia and Poland, and now the invasion of Crimea, they were correct to seek protection.
In truth Nationalism will always Trump Internationalist movements like Communism, Golbalism, EU etc... may is a tribal Animal and like the Totem of his group. Putin plays into this well. You could see it in the Opening of the Olympics a while back—a look at pride in nation. Hitler used it too, as has others. The left (internationalists) hate this. It killed the old USSR—and will slay the EU in time. It will lead to the end of the UN and make it a powerless debating society.
Excellent analysis. I agree 100%.
I use “right wing” to describe conservatism that also recognizes the need for a measure of autocracy in the face of runaway democracy managed by the media.
Why should that endear him to the European right?
Harder to sympathize when nations burn babies for fuel and euthanize 12 year olds.
Fascist is a better descriptor than Nazi. Putin is certainly more like Mussolini than like Hitler.
Perhaps Putin is setting up these parties to later create a reason for the Russians to later move in and “Liberate” them.
Sorry, but you’re wrong. Pretty much all of European political philosophy is what we in the US would call leftist, whether the Europeans call it right or left. For them, the difference is between international and national socialism; overweening, intrusive government is accepted as a given. Here, the difference is between the ascendency of the state over the individual (leftism) versus the ascendency of the individual over the state (rightism). There really isn’t an equivalent to our right in Europe.
I think you’re right. It’s overly simplistic, but we must remember that we face a very definable enemy. The people in control of these European countries are the same as the Obama regime. The same globalist ideology of progressivism. If the rise of other parties destabilizes and collapses the EU, its a plus for us.
In the western third of Ukraine, the majority are Russian speakers. It is the western part, around Lyov, that is truly European.
If the EU and UN go, I genuinely think we can turn the clock back and save civilization.
Correction: the Eastern part is Russified.
I think you’re right, but I don’t use the term ‘autocracy’. I see conservatism as a reactionary form of libertarianism. the right left spectrum runs from libertarianism on the right to statism on the left.
True conservatism states that libertarianism is the preferable position, but that civil society as it stands today is not suitable for libertarianism, and because of that, the civil society must be changed or ‘restored’ to its previous station for the most part.
And of course, within conservatism are several sub-ideological groups.
Well, certainly the western elite have little respect for liberal democracy, except for the election rituals, which give them legitimacy. Of course, they are trying to undermine any vote that goes against them. It will be interesting to see if the UKIP does well this spring. If it can bring aboard some of the working class that has supported Labour, and whose leaders have same contempt for their values that Obama has for ours.
Some rational people in Europe might be attracted to policies that fought back at muslims in their midst, as Putin appears willing to do.
Mother of God repel Putin!
It be interested to hear you distinguish between Russian and Ukrainian “nationalism.”
True American Conservatives DO have something in common with Putin and it is not an ideological agreement and it has different principles and motivations - both are EU skeptics, and both do not accept the western political elite’s myth that (no matter what Putin is about) the EU is NOT about empire building - it is. The EU is NOT about Liberty, NOT about democracy, NOT about “tolerance” or “diversity”; it is about expanding CENTRAL authority over more and more daily life in Europe in Brussels, in unelected bureaucrats and supra-national courts given final and perpetual say-so by one-off “democratic” acts which close off local, “national” democratic decisions about many things after that.
The effort to confuse the radically Leftwing German National Socialist movement, with the "far Right," of course goes back to Stalin's propaganda, refocused on the subject after the German invasion in 1941. This mis-characterization was very much abetted by Leftist theorists in Roosevelt's New Deal--which had much in common with the Nazis in dealing with the Great Depression--but needed to differentiate itself, as part of the war effort.
The concept of the "Right Wing," of course goes back to the French Revolution, where the great landowners & State Church leaders sat on the Right in the National Assembly. While it is generally coextensive with Conservatism, in any nation, that is not inevitably so--depending on which institutions the conservatives in any particular nation, consider most important.
Thus we can say that the Monarchists & supporters of the continuity of established and vested positions are right wing, and almost always Conservative. But Conservatives in countries like the United States & Switzerland, with a long Republican tradition, tend to be Republicans, as well as more sympathetic to a greater degree of social mobility, than those in some of the other European nations.
Now, when one looks not at traditional values & interests, internal to any nation; but rather to relations between nations; there is some overlap between Right & Left, with respect to many issues--such as trade, immigration, imperialism & ethnicity. In my humble opinion, the doctrines of the great Swiss authority Vattel, from a quarter millennium ago, offer a clearer insight than anything likely to be offered by so called contemporary "pundits."
The Founding Fathers applied Vattel's principles in devising a foreign policy that once made us the most admired peoples on earth. The EU, like America post Wilson, has gone off on a tangent, and consequently those in Europe--whom the CFR lumps together as "right-wing," are reacting. Whatever any of those groups' policies on domestic issues; their reaction to the loss of control over their respective cultural heritages, certainly seems justified. A people's culture reflects their nature & generations of experience, for which their is no substitute.
But, of course, in my humble opinion, our fellow countrymen, generally, have over-looked the most significant lesson for us, clear in the Crimean events--and that goes to what the American Left's deliberate efforts to change American ethnicity is doing.
The present corruption of the concept of "Liberty," by the ACLU, NAACP, SPLC, ADL, and the like; which prevents local communities from enforcing the cultural or religious wishes of the inhabitants, by allowing any dissenting litigant to enjoin what was once permitted; is actually anti-libertarian, and part of a totalitarian utilitarianism, which reduces all aspects of culture to the lowest level that everyone can be forced to accept.
"That is no substitute for inspiring leadership or effective policies."
What, you weren't inspired by Barry's speech referring to the referendum in Kosovo?
One may laugh or cringe at the Portuguese president of the Commission, but what he is saying is part of the root ideology of the EU. When Putin and Lavrov visited Brussels in January 2014 for a summit meeting with the EU leaders the same Barroso talked about "creat[ing] a common economic space from Lisbon to Vladivostok". Several other leading politicians of EU member countries have spoken of a European Union from the Bay of Biscay to the Urals. (Latest of those was David Cameron during a visit to Kazakstan this year.)
These statements are no more meaningless phrases than the phrase "ever closer union" in the original EU (EEC) treaty. They mean it!
And the reason is the statist ideology that pervades the political discourse in Europe. Europe is a small peninsula on the European-Asian landmass. The individual countries will not be able to compete with the large popolous nations in Asia and the Americas for raw materials and energy supplies. Therefore the Union must grow larger and larger - the only way to safety (they feel).
Bad luck for Russia and Ukraine who happens to be in the way of that expansion - and bad luck also to the United States if the US decides to go along with the EU, because in the end it will have to be the US who for a third time will have to come to the aid of a Europe that has involved itself in a major conflict.
Very much true. Libertarianism requires by necessity for religious communities, township cohesion, and most importantly family life, to control and keep in check the norms of civil society. When those norms are broken down (as has happened), that’s the excuse for government intrusion and libertarianism falls apart.
The statist feels these communities and townships to be exclusionary and totalitarian, but they are in fact the very safeguard against tyranny. In working to undermine and disintegrate them at the behest of malcontents and misfits, the government in fact persecutes the majority to the point of minority, terminating civil life and sapping a country of its nationhood.
There is a fine balance between rights and responsibilities. Governmental authorities are to secure your rights, which are outlined clearly and unequivocally, unchanging and inviolable. Communal authorities are to secure your responsibilities, and this authority is centralized in each household. We no longer have households. We have houses.
In the News/Activism forum, on a thread titled Putin’s Western Allies: Why Europe’s Far Right Is on the Kremlin’s Side, annalex wrote:
Despite the article’s hysterical anti-right wing tone, I think the conservatives should indeed ponder: why are so many on the nationalist Right unable to see, through the Russian Federation’s Soviet-style social conservatism, a re-enactment of the old COMINTERN posing serious threat to the nations of Europe, including Russia itself?
The answer to your question why they’re accepting funds from the “Kremlin” is because some of these so called nationalistic groups (usefull idiots) believe they, not Putin, can control what they’re advocating. They also see no problem with being dependent on Russia for their energy sources which is what they believe Putin is really about. And to a certain extent he is waging a capitalistic war using commi tactics. Attempting to corner europes oil market.
When Ukraine which under the old soviet was an “independent” country voting in the UN signed those agreements there were limitations placed on the number of ships,troops, and equipment Russia could keep at its naval base. When the Ukrainians kicked out whatshisname Russia wasn’t observing those agreements because Putin’s stooge let them violate them big time. And of course the Kremlin p/r tells us and repeated here in postings by Putin supporters built up their cause celeb. The truth is very likely any new government would put a kibosh on that but had no intention of kicking the Russians out. One consistant FR poster makes that assertion here when that come up. As far as ownership of the Crimea goes there were a bunch of owners including the Venetians who by the way just passed a non binding independent country referendum. We’re not hearing about any conflict that’s going on in that peninsula so don’t buy the crap that Kremlin sources are spewing it’s now one happy “russified” place.
Just this week I haven’t seen it posted here in FRs UK’s PM Cameron urged tapping into europes shale oil gas deposits and forget about Russia. Plus all of those former “soviets” are closely re-examining their defences. If that all comes together Putin might be out before Obama gets impeached.
This article is what I would expect from the SPLC-ADL types in which everything they oppose must be a “far-right” conspiracy. Somehow the growing resentment against the EU by the people of Europe is seen as some kind of ‘threat’. After all, much of the EU’s policy’s have been far beyond their legal limits and for the most part is a continental government most Europeans didn’t want.
Oh, and one more thing: It’s FAILING. But let’s not let reality get in the way of conventional wisdom.
Now, in seeing the decline of the West, many ‘patriots’ are looking East to (dare I say it) moral stability (which as we know, usually leads to political and economic stability).
Also, has it become more than obvious to everyone that Putin is now the new ‘bad guy’? A typical tactic of the West to make an adversary all about one person (G.W. Bush, Sarah Palin, Ted Cruz, even Edward Snowden if the need arises).
Fact is that unlike Libya, Uganda, Pakistan, Somalia and a few other recent countries (to name a few), Putin actually ASKED for his Parliament’s permission before moving on Crimea. I predict Russia will slowly garner more support from Western citizens as they find a growing disconnect with their own government’s leaders.
What was that (in)famous line recently from Putin? Oh yes:
“... I only wish I had the power that Obama thinks he has...”
Throw up all the propaganda you wish, but this is not about Putin. It’s about that so-called ‘regional power’ that we have to pay $71 million per seat to get a man into space, who’s economy is stabilizing by not overspending, and turning the petro-dollars into domestic manufacturing (you know - that stuff WE used to do), and who - along with it’s BRIC alliance, government more than 60% of the worlds population.
(BRIC = Brazil, Russia, India, China)
A population I might add, that under it’s current social policies, will see positive growth over the next generations while their opposition will surely see a decline.
Not taking sides here, just calling them as I see them. Personally, I think we should be worrying more about the domestic army being poised against us, a full on invasion from our southern border, and the absence of Constitutional limits much more than that ‘regional’ problem in the Ukraine.
jimjohn - out.
Mainly because it used to be Polish....until they were kicked out of there in 1939.
A better question might be why the American right doesn’t take more cues from their European counterparts who clearly see that the real enemy to conservatism and national sovereignty is the anti-religious, socialism of the European Union, not the mafia-style capitalism operating in Russia.
or, perhaps Russia sees the path away from socialism as the proper course.
It’s for damn sure they know that communism is a bitter path to follow