[Marxism] Putin’s party signs deal with Italy’s far-right Lega Nord

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Tue Mar 7 06:12:38 MST 2017

Putin’s party signs deal with Italy’s far-right Lega Nord
Move marks latest attempt by Kremlin to develop formal links with 
European populists

by: Max Seddon in Moscow and James Politi in Rome

President Vladimir Putin’s ruling party has signed a co-operation deal 
with Italy’s far-right Lega Nord, deepening Russia’s ties with Europe’s 
populist movements.

The deal marks the Kremlin’s latest attempt to develop formal links with 
populist groups ahead of elections this year in which the right is set 
to make gains.

United Russia, the main pro-Kremlin party, signed a similar agreement 
late last year with the far-right Freedom party of Austria, whose leader 
Heinz-Christian Strache was narrowly defeated in December’s presidential 
election. The leader of Germany’s anti-immigration Alternative for 
Germany (AfD) party, Frauke Petry, also held talks with United Russia’s 
Viacheslav Volodin, speaker of the Duma, the lower house of parliament, 
during a visit to Russia last month.

Moscow officials have hailed the rise of anti-establishment populist 
parties in Europe and Donald Trump’s victory in the US as signs that 
western governments will fail in their attempts to isolate Mr Putin’s 
regime following the 2014 annexation of Crimea.

Common cause in a conservative backlash against liberal values and 
criticism of the EU’s handling of the migrant crisis have allowed Moscow 
to build good relationships with European far-right parties including 
France’s National Front, Hungary’s Jobbik and Italy’s Lega Nord, or 
Northern League.

Many of those parties approved of Russia’s annexation of Crimea and sent 
monitors who praised glaringly flawed elections in both Crimea and 
rebel-held eastern Ukraine.

Although it is unclear what the Lega Nord agreement will entail, Sergei 
Zheleznyak, deputy Duma speaker, touted Russia’s willingness to lead a 
global anti-terror coalition alongside western nations as a priority for 
the Kremlin.

“Russia is [Europe’s] neighbour,” Mr Zheleznyak said in a statement. “So 
it’s particularly strange that Europe isn’t making use of the unique 
experience fighting terrorism that we’ve built up in our country.

Matteo Salvini, Lega Nord chairman, said his anti-immigration and 
anti-euro party would work “so that Italy has real parliamentary 
elections, just as open as in your country [Russia]”.

The two parties will also develop ties in the Council of Europe, the 
Organization for Security and Co-Operation in Europe, and promote 
business links.

Members of Lega Nord made up the bulk of an Italian delegation that 
visited Crimea in October, prompting protests from Ukraine. Claudio 
D’Amico, a senior Lega Nord member, was one of several European 
far-right politicians who monitored the rubber-stamp referendum that 
followed Russia’s annexation of the peninsula.

The Netherlands, France and Germany will all hold general elections this 
year, with far-right parties expected to perform strongly.

More information about the Marxism mailing list