Staunton, September 27 – Moscow continues to receive support from some left-wing parties in Europe largely “as a result of inertia” from Soviet times, but the Kremlin gets most of its backing now from right-wing parties, at least some of whom evidence suggests the Kremlin is “generously financing their leading structures,” according to Sabirdzhan Badretdinov.
These rightist parties, the commentator says, are drawn to Putin by his much ballyhooed commitment to “traditional values,” including homophobia, militarism, nationalism, xenophobia, and anti-Americanism, but they have really become a bloc with respect to Russian aggression in Ukraine.
Of the 24 radical right parties in Europe, he says, 14 have come out in support of Putin’s policies in Ukraine, seven have remained “more or less neutral,” and “only three have stayed with anti-Russian positions.” To make his point, Badretdinov surveys the various rightist parties on the continent whose popular support has been growing.
This trend in part reflects “growing tensions in relations between the local population and Muslim immigrants in Europe which inevitably is leading to a strengthening of nationalism, populism, and xenophobia.” That has consequences in the first instance for the current member states of the EU, but it also affects the prospects of countries like Ukraine who would like to join.
Many of these rightist parties, the commentator says, oppose the very idea of the European Union, but “paradoxically, they actively and regularly participate in elections to the European Parliament,” something they see as a way of promoting their views. But, Badretdinov says, this represents “an additional danger” for Ukraine, Belarus and Moldova as they seek integration with Europe.
Such hostility toward European integration and toward the United States, he continues, “is driving the radical right parties into the embrace of Russia, a country they see as “a conservative alternative to liberalism and the ‘negative’ influence of globalization.” That combination too represents “a threat to the strategic interests of Ukraine.”
For an annotated list of the far-right European parties invited by Putin to observe the Crimean referendum under Russian occupation, see Russia This Week.