The Wall Street Journal reports: Russia’s ruling party signed a five-year “cooperation agreement” with the anti-immigrant Freedom Party of Austria, one of the clearest signs that the Kremlin is seeking to deepen ties with nationalist and antiestablishment forces in the West.
The two-page agreement, reached in Moscow after Freedom Party leaders met with officials from Russian President Vladimir Putin’s United Russia party, spells out a common commitment to holding regular joint meetings and public events while working to strengthen social and economic ties between Russia and Austria.
The agreement, seen by The Wall Street Journal, describes “mutual noninterference in internal affairs” and “equal, reliable, and mutually beneficial partnership” as key principles.
The accord is the latest example of Russian efforts to forge ties with antiestablishment, euroskeptic parties in Europe, many of which in turn promote closer ties to Moscow and rolling back the European Union. Marine Le Pen’s National Front has tapped a Russian bank for a loan to help fund its election efforts in France, for instance. Meanwhile, antiestablishment politicians such as Ms. Le Pen, Britain’s Nigel Farage and Geert Wilders, head of the Netherlands’ Party for Freedom, have bashed the EU in interviews on Russian television. [Continue reading…]