[Marxism] Nigel Farage pays homage to Vladimir Putin’s power politics

Louis Proyect 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, 
Russian president.

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? 
None, Nigel.”

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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