European puzzle: How Putin's radical allies threaten European unity (part 3)
Extreme left parties say Putin's Russia is the ideal successor of Stalinist communism while the right-wing parties say Putin is a ‘new Mussolini’
Vladimir Putin’s social conservatismis tempting bait for Europe’s radical far-right parties. The influence of the Kremlin’s homophobic campaign is probably the most striking example of this growing trend. Putin has repeatedly supported the fight against ‘homosexual propaganda’, which he argues, endangers the foundations of a society based on traditional family values. The rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people do not find a place in this context. Western liberalism, which guarantees equal rights to all citizens regardless of their sexual orientation or religion, is seen as degeneration and a national threat.
Putin's iron leadership is another attractive factor. His ability to run the country with an iron fist coincide with the common autocratic leadership ideals seen within a far-right society. (For example, in Italy, the myth of Mussolini is still alive). We might see the suppression of political opponents and attacks against freedom of speech, with strict control over the media.
Russian political scientist Alexander Dugin is a key figure in the study of the ideological relations between Russia and Europe. His theories of Eurasia, National Bolshevism and the conservative revolution have close similarities to those of European right-wing leaders (especially the extreme right). The Russian philosopher’s work composes of ideological basis, which affects Putin’s geopolitical strategies. Dugin is a kind of guru for such parties like Greece’s Golden Dawn.
Another European party worthy of attention is the Slovak National Party, which embodies many of the characteristics of the Hungarian Jobbik party. In November 2013, its leader Marian Kotleba surprisingly won the local elections in the Banská Bystrica region. In some six months, Kotleba ordered "the flag of the occupiers" of Europe be removed from institutional buildings which housed the party’s offices. Then, he ordered banner be hung from his office balcony with the words ‘Yankee go home!’ and ‘Stop NATO’. Therefore, it is not surprising that the National Party of Slovakia is pro-Russian.
Golden Dawn does not hide their neo-Nazi orientation. Their cooperation with Russia began in 2012, in particular, with some neo-Nazi groups and Russian nationalists. Golden Dawn believes Russia is a natural ally of Greece, and their spokesman, Ilias Kasidiaris has repeatedly asked for the intervention of Russian troops into Greece to protect the Burgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline construction.
It’s fascinating to consider and analyse propaganda during and after Ukraine’s Maidan Revolution. Russia described Maidan as a revolution of neo-Nazi groups, provoked by Europe and America. It quoted the leader of the far-right Svoboda party, who was often seen at conferences of far-right groups in Europe. It is funny that those parties that invited Svoboda, have totally changed their positions after Maidan and instead took the Russian side. Before Maidan, there was a link between Forza Nuova, Casa Pound and Svoboda and between the National Front, Jobbik and the BNP.
Therefore, we are in the paradoxical situation. In reality, those who blame Ukraine for having a neo-Nazi leadership are the allies of all those European parties that support far-right ideas.
No journalist ever pointed to this irony, when the leader of Svoboda was photographed with the Forza Nuova, or Jobbik parliamentarians (as it is proof of his neo-Nazi ideology). At the same time, when all these people meet in Moscow or St. Petersburg, they take the role of enlightened political leaders.
Geopolitically, Russia's proposal is to replace Europe (in terms of composition) and NATO (in terms of security). Right-wing politicians do not perceive this new look as a threat but as a resource that can guarantee peace and stability. Russia desires to be dominant in the Eurasian market and create a kind of Russian hegemony over the entire region. To achieve this, first it must destroy the European Union (politically) and NATO (with the help of right-wing parties), which in the future will be the rulers of this great new macro-region (like in Chechnya, Armenia, etc.)
This union might not be official and open at this stage but it is clear that the objectives of both parties and cultural background are the same. European institutions must fully understand this phenomenon and try to correct the situation.
In conclusion, it is necessary to consider the Italian case where there was a connection between the ideological far-right and radical left on the basis of anti-Americanism. Radical left parties see Putin's Russia as the ideal successor to Stalinist communism while the right-wing parties (as discussed above) say Putin is a new Mussolini. It is the so-called red-brown group, an explosive mix of fascism and Stalinism that has little in common with the enlightened democracy, which assured seventy years of peace in Europe.
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