Monday, March 23, 2015

Far-Right Flocks to Russia to Berate the West

Kremlin-connected lawmaker hosts forum for like-minded from U.S., Europe to sound off

By Alan Cullison, WSJ
March 23, 2015

ST. PETERSBURG, Russia—For more than a year now, the Kremlin has warned of a resurgence of fascism in Europe—meaning the pro-Western government in Ukraine.

But on Sunday, a lawmaker whose party cooperates with the ruling United Russia in parliament, hosted a foreign legion of politicians too far to the right for most of Europe.

For fringe politicians—and some ex-fringe politicians—the trip let them do something they say they can’t back home: sound off against what they call the monolithic message of Washington and Brussels.

“If you tried to have a conference like this in the U.S. or the U.K., it wouldn’t be allowed,” said Nick Griffin, the expelled former leader of the anti-immigrant British National Party. “Russia has shown it is more free than the West.”

President Vladimir Putin has been trying to exploit political rifts in Europe by forging alliances with what were regarded in their home countries as fringe political movements on the left and right. Some have grown in popularity in countries such as Hungary and France, giving the Kremlin a lever to pry against European economic sanctions for the war in Ukraine.

(More here.)

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