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Far Right Political Actors in Europe (October 2019): Russian Factor

by Simeon Mitropolitski

Russian Factor

A relatively new approach in analyzing the European political Far Right engages post-communist authoritarian Russia as a new important factor. Without questioning the endogenous nature of the European Far Right in most cases, the authors emphasize the importance of international context in the age of political and ideological conflict between Russia and the European Union.

Part of the research focuses on European Far Right parties and movements in the context of European-Russian relations. In Russia and the Western Far Right: Tango Noir, Anton Shekhovtsov presents the evolution of Russian engagement with the European Far Right, started as a way to help legitimize the Russian authoritarian political system and the Kremlin’s behavior at home and abroad.  Moscow gradually started using European Far Right parties in order to influence European public opinion, with important political and social consequences. A step further in describing new Russian influence in particular European countries using their open liberal democratic political systems is Russia and the EU: Spaces of Interaction, edited by Andrey Makarychev and Thomas Hoffmann. Cas Mudde dedicates a chapter in his book On Extremism and Democracy in Europe (2016) to five cases of European Far Right parties (“Putin’s Trojan horses”) that are openly pro-Russian. One of these cases, the Hungarian Far Right party Jobbik, as well as its connection to Russia and to the larger trend in the West toward populism, is a subject of The Hungarian Far Right: Social Demand, Political Supply, and International Context, by Péter Krekó and Attila Juhasz.

 Another part of the research focuses mainly on Russia and its Far Right tradition before discussing the way it influences European countries. Jan Holzer, Miroslav Mares and Martin Laryś present Militant Right-Wing Extremism in Putin’s Russia: Legacies, Forms and Threats, in which remote and recent history is discussed in the framework of a more general research question, which is how serious is the threat of Russian militant right-wing extremism to the country and to the world in general. From another point of view, the Eurasianism and the European Far Right: Reshaping the Europe-Russia Relationship, edited by Marlene Laruelle, discusses ideological similarities between Russian-inspired Eurasianism and the current European political Far Right.