Putin has become shockingly effective at influencing European politics through a host of far-right parties.
The following chart, from the Center for Eurasian Strategic Intelligence (CESI), shows Russia’s growing influence within six different European Union countries.
The parties, located in the UK, France, Germany, Greece, Bulgaria, and Hungary are increasingly popular, as well as being increasingly against the EU. Each of the parties has also fostered a closer relationship with Russia, and has protested against sanctions on Moscow following its annexation of Ukraine.
The six parties linked to Russia are the UK’s UK Independence Party (UKIP), France’s National Front, Germany’s National Democratic Party, Hungary’s Jobbik, Greece’s Golden Dawn, and Bulgaria’s Attack.
Britain’s UKIP party, which favours withdrawing from the EU and having stronger relations with Russia, received 29% of the votes in the most recent election. This was double what the party obtained in elections five years ago.
Likewise, according to CESI, France’s National Front won 25% of the votes in a national election. The party’s head, Marine Le Pen, views Putin as a traditional ally and plans to form a coalition with other pro-Russian far-right parties in the European Parliament.
Jobbik (Hungary), the Golden Dawn (Greece), and Attack (Bulgaria) are also attracted to, and possibly financed, by Russia. All three parties oppose sanctions on Moscow for the annexation of Crimea and have favourable views of Putin as a defender of traditional Christianity.
Hungary, in particular, views Russia as an ally. Jobbik is the second most powerful Hungarian party, after the pro-Russian leading Fidesz party. Both parties oppose sanctions on Moscow and sought Russian help for building a nuclear power plant.
The rise in political far-right groups within Europe is largely tied to a continuation of Russian special war across the continent that was first developed during the Cold War. Russia expert John Schindler explains to that while the Soviet Union backed communist leaning parties to influence politics, Russia is now financing far-right parties in an attempt to steer Europe’s politics.
The preferred outcome would be the dissolution of the EU and the end of a counterweight to Russian power.
“Resulting from the election of May 25, 20% of the European Parliament members are representatives of parties supporting dissolution of the EU,” a CESI report states. “Their core is made of right-wing politicians.”
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