Destinations Magazine

Charlemagne: Russia’s Friends in Black

By Stizzard
Cartoon of bare chested Putin portrait on a wall

IF EUROPE’S far-right parties do as well as many expect in May’s European election, no world leader will be happier than Vladimir Putin. For a man who claims to be defending Russian-speakers in Ukraine against fascists and Nazis, the Russian president has some curious bedfellows on the fringes of European politics, ranging from the creepy uniformed followers of Jobbik in Hungary to the more scrubbed-up National Front in France.There was a time when Russia’s friends were principally on the left. There are still some pro-Moscow communists, for instance in Greece. But these days the Kremlin’s chums are most visible on the populist right. The crisis in Ukraine has brought out their pro-Russian sympathies, most overtly when a motley group of radicals was invited to vouch for Crimea’s referendum on rejoining Russia. The “observers” included members of the National Front, Jobbik, the Vlaams Belang in Belgium, Austria’s Freedom Party (FPÖ) and Italy’s Northern League, as well as leftists from Greece and Germany and an assortment of eccentrics. They declared that the ballot, denounced by most Western governments as…

The Economist: Europe

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