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

Anton Shekhovtsov writes: 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.

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. [Continue reading…]

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