[Marxism] Nigel Farage pays homage to Vladimir Putin’s power politics
lnp3 at panix.com
Wed Apr 2 19:10:40 MDT 2014
Financial Times, April 2, 2014 6:21 pm
Nigel Farage pays homage to Vladimir Putin’s power politics
By George Parker in London and Kester Eddy in Budapest
Nigel Farage, leader of the populist UK Independence party, has become
the latest in a line of populist, rightwing politicians across Europe to
pay homage to the power politics and anti-EU stance of Vladimir Putin,
Mr Farage’s professed admiration for Mr Putin as a political operator
and “brilliant” tactician in the Syria crisis has been pilloried by
mainstream politicians in Britain: Nick Clegg, Liberal Democrat leader,
said his comments were “utterly grotesque”.
Many were taken aback by Mr Farage’s remarks, including his view that
the EU has “blood on its hands” over its offer of closer trade ties
between Ukraine and Europe – a move the Ukip leader believes provoked
“the Russian bear”.
But his comments are part of a wider trend across Europe of rightwing
politicians expressing admiration of Mr Putin, apparently impressed by
his robust nationalism and determination to resist EU “expansionism”
into eastern Europe.
Mr Farage insists that he neither likes nor trusts Mr Putin, nor would
he like to live in Russia. But he said last month: “Compared with the
kids who run foreign policy in this country, I’ve more respect for him
than our lot.”
Like other rightwing leaders, Mr Farage views Russia’s annexation of
Crimea as a nationalist response to provocation from Brussels, which he
claims has “an activist, militarist and expansionist foreign policy”.
“What on earth does Farage think he is talking about?” asked Sir Malcolm
Rifkind, Britain’s former foreign secretary. “Stalin once said: ‘How
many divisions has the Pope?’ How many divisions has the European Union?
The Council on Foreign Relations, the US think-tank, has noted growing
links between the Kremlin and fringe parties in Europe that share his
ambition to destabilise the EU.
Mitchell Orenstein, writing in the council’s Foreign Affairs, said it
was perhaps surprising that Mr Putin was forging links with far-right
parties in Europe when his stated aim in Crimea was to prevent “Nazis”
from coming to power in Ukraine.
“In the European Union, he hopes that his backing of fringe parties will
destabilise his foes and install in Brussels politicians who will be
focused on dismantling the EU rather than enlarging it.”
Many of those parties expect to do well in May’s European elections and
they convened to discuss tactics last December at the Italian Northern
League’s conference in Turin; an event also attended by Viktor Zubarev
from Mr Putin’s United Russia party.
Other parties attending the conference included the Austrian Freedom
party, the Dutch Freedom party, the Belgian Vlaams Belang party and
France’s resurgent National Front.
Marine Le Pen, National Front leader, was given red carpet treatment on
a visit to Russia, where she declared “Russia saved Syria”. According to
Prof Orenstein, Mr Putin has taken Hungary’s rightwing Jobbik party
“under his wing”.
Nikolaos Michaloliakos of Greece’s Golden Dawn party has said “Greece
and Russia are natural allies”, while Nick Griffin, chairman of the
far-right British National party, opined that “Russian elections are
much fairer than Britain’s” after acting as a monitor at polling
stations in 2011 and 2012.
Analysis by Political Capital, a policy research institute, concluded
that, after May’s European elections, “pro-Russian far-right forces
might have a larger presence in the European parliament than ever before”.
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