The previous post drew a rough parallel between the Western leftist and revolutionary movements of the 1920s and today’s left-wing/libertarian alliance of “techno-revolutionaries” who seek to bring down capitalism by information-related means. The analogy can be widened, however: there is another group of dissenters in the West whom Moscow can rely on to create a base of support and a pool of common interests. It’s a group that has little in common with left-wing ideas and aspirations, or even with the preoccupations of libertarianism, but is similarly useful. The far-right movements of Europe, with their representation in the European Parliament and their exploitation of the immigration issue, have a role to play not unlike that of the “полезные идиоты” of the inter-war decades.
As Elena Servettaz recently made clear,
Kremlin officials realize that the traditional liberal and conservative parties in Europe are gradually losing ground and that now is the time to cautiously align themselves with new forces—the far-right nationalists. “Some people in political circles in Moscow know that in Europe, and particularly in France, as the new family of far-right parties is gaining momentum, they must get to know them better and test the waters,” says Jean-Yves Camus.
The Euroscepticism of public opinion in France and the U.K. can be harnessed and adapted by nationalist and populist parties to form a Europhobic ideology based on fear of foreigners, “conservative values” and hostility to Islam. In December the Dutch Eurosceptic politician Geert Wilders attended a meeting in Italy which also hosted a United Russia Duma member:
According to Italian media, Viktor Zubarev also addressed the gathering and spoke about ‘values, the family, the nation, a return to religion’ and said that the party shared a lot of ideas with Italy’s Northern League, from immigration to budgetary policies.
In France, the National Front leader Marine Le Pen believes that Russia is “unfairly demonized”, and has claimed that an ongoing anti-Russian campaign is being organized “at the highest levels of the European Union with support from the United States”.
As Moscow increases its propaganda effort through outlets like RT (Russia Today) and Russia Beyond the Headlines, it’s as well to be aware of the possible dangers of its collaboration with right-wing extremist forces in Europe – and to see those dangers in the context of Europe’s twentieth-century past.