16 August 2014

Putin’s useful idiots and little ribbentrops in Europe

The Ukrainian revolution that started from pro-European protests (Euromaidan) in November 2013 and eventually ousted former president Viktor Yanukovych in March 2014 turned Russian president Vladimir Putin’s blood cold. There were two major – political and geopolitical – reasons for Putin to be terrified.

First of all, with his antagonism towards mass protests, which his regime systematically crushes in Russia itself, Putin feared that Maidan – which, after the “Orange revolution” in 2004, has become a name for a successful popular protest – could be somehow transferred to Russia and cause problems to his rule.

Second, the signing of the Association Agreement between Ukraine and the EU, which was the initial demand of Euromaidan, could effectively pull Ukraine out of the Russian sphere of influence. Furthermore, through the rapprochement with the West, Putin feared that Ukraine might wish to join NATO – an organisation that never ceased to strike terror into the hearts of Russian nationalists and military “hawks”.

What happened in March, when Russia invaded and annexed the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, as well as starting its open covert operation in the Eastern parts of Ukraine, was sudden but not entirely unexpected. Have not Russian university textbooks on geopolitics been questioning the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine since the late 1990s? Did not Putin say, in 2008, to former US president George Bush that Ukraine was not “even a state” and that “the greater part” of it had been a “gift” from Russia? Did not Putin, through one of his mouthpieces, Sergey Glazyev, warn, in September 2013, that the signing of the Association Agreement between Ukraine and the EU could lead to the intervention “if pro-Russian regions of the country appealed directly to Moscow”?

American fascist Lyndon LaRouche, his wife and colleague Helga-Zepp LaRouche and current Putin's aide Sergey Glazyev, then Russian parliament chairman of the Economic Affairs Committee, June 2001
The Russian invasion and the Kremlin’s support – including arms, money and manpower – of pro-Russian right-wing extremists in Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts have drawn condemnation from the EU, but this condemnation was not unanimous. While the mainstream political forces – conservatives, social-democrats, Greens and liberals – criticised the Russian aggressive interference in Ukraine, the radical right-wing and left-wing parties largely approved of it. The vote in the European Parliament on the 17th of March 2014, when it adopted the “Resolution on Russian pressure on Eastern Partnership countries and in particular destabilisation of eastern Ukraine”, has been revealing: out of 49 MEPs who voted against the resolution, 20 MEPs represented the far right, 26 MEPs – the left and the far left, and 3 MEPs were coming from generally Eurosceptic parties.

Historically, the strategic alliance between the far right and the (far) left is nothing new, as well as the annexation of a territory of another sovereign state. Thus, the similarities with the late 1930s were too obvious to ignore: the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact that divided territories of Central-Eastern Europe into Nazi and Soviet “spheres of influence” and the consequent Nazi and Soviet annexations of these territories. Putin’s appeal to Russia’s Council of Federation of the Federal Assembly “to use the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation on the territory of Ukraine” reminded of the statements made both by Adolf Hitler following the Nazi invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1939 and by Soviet chief Commissar Vyacheslav Molotov on the eve of the Soviet invasion of Poland: all of them invaded these sovereign states on the grounds of protecting co-ethnics.

There are various reasons why the EU-based far right and (far) left are willing to endorse and approve of Russia’s actions in Ukraine.

European left-wingers, who rightly deserve – recalling the phenomenon of Western sympathisers of the Soviet Union during the Cold War – the title “useful idiots”, see in Russia a force that can challenge the alleged geopolitical unipolarity and the domination of liberal political economy. Being unable, due to their marginal role in national politics, to implement socialist and communist ideas in their home countries, they look at Russia as their last hope, despite the fact that Russia is not even a capitalist, but a kleptocratic, state.

The far right’s reasons to support Putin are partly similar. Like the left, most of the EU’s far right parties despise the US as the dominant power in the world. Yet, for the far right, the US is also the “hotbed” of multiculturalism and multiracialism – the ideas and practices which the far right strongly oppose in the EU. Parties like the French National Front, Hungarian Jobbik, British National Party, Austrian Party of Freedom, Greek Golden Dawn and some others also praise Putin for turning Russia into a “truly sovereign” state that does not reckon with any other world power. And, obviously, Russia’s positioning as the last remaining bastion of traditional moral values does not fail to impress the far right who seem to not distinguish between the Kremlin’s posture and the shoddy reality of Russian mainstream culture.

Front National's leader Marine Le Pen in Moscow, June 2013
What these little ribbentrops also fail to understand is that Putin is cooperating with them only to undermine and corrupt their countries. Of course, their strategic goal is mutual: the Kremlin and the European far right want to weaken or even abolish the EU. The far right cherish the utopic idea of returning to a nation state to bring back a mythic sense of national belonging. Putin, however, wants something very different, something which can be achieved by following a maxim “divide and rule”. Through undermining the EU politically, binding the EU countries to Russia economically, Putin aspires to turn Russia into a super power.

In the world where Russia indeed secures a role of a super power, European countries will become Russia’s economic vassals. When Putin talks about “a unified Europe from Lisbon to Vladivostok”, one may remember the words of Belgian National Bolshevik Jean-François Thiriart who dreamed of the “Euro-Soviet Empire” and “Europe as far as Vladivostok”. These ideas may be attractive to some elements of the European far right, but for Putin, in his own vision of a space “from Lisbon to Vladivostok”, there is no Europe as we know it. This space will be called “Eurasia”, a kleptocracy extended from Vladivostok to Lisbon.

In this ominous reality, liberal democracy, rule of law, human rights, economic freedoms, equal opportunities and progressive values will be eliminated – as they have largely been eliminated in today’s Russia. The Kremlin will not need to invade European countries with Russian tanks: economic and political corruption is a weapon more clandestine, powerful and, eventually, virulent than conventional arms. The EU may be no bowl of cherries, but Putin’s useful idiots and little ribbentrops in Europe do not imagine what Putin has in store for them.

A German version of the article can be found here.

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  1. Антон,
    на Шведском сайте
    http://sverigesradio.se/sida/artikel.aspx?programid=83&artikel=5925406 появилась статья и видео о, якобы, нацистском батальоне Азов. Авторы материала ссылаются на ваши высказывания о фашистской диктатуре, находящейся сегодня у власти в Украине.Можете прокомментировать как-нибудь? Это действительно ваши слова или ...? Дело в том, что российские граждане теперь ссылаются на эту статью, которая как бы подстверждает заявления российских властей о Киевской хунте и правящих фашистах на Украине.

    1. Там речь идет о том, что батальон "Азов", основу которого является Социал-национальная ассамблея, не сражается за демократическую Украину. Напротив, их идеальной Украиной является фашистская диктатура. Они сами этого не скрывают:

      "Наш Націоналізм є расовим, соціальним, великодержавно-імперським, антисистемним (антидемократичним та антикапіталістичним), самодостатнім, войовничим та безкомпромісним. Свою ідеологію Український Соціал-Націоналізм будує на максималізмі, національно-расовому егоїзмі, любові до свого, нетерпимості до ворожого та активізмі, здатному бути залізним тараном для розторощення чужої сили, що схоче стати на перешкоді Української Нації та Білої Раси.
      Витворення і пропаганда наших поглядів, а також обрання засобів нашої діяльності відбувається без огляду на „загальнолюдські цінності”, принципи демократії, пацифізму, толерантності та політкоректності."

      Таким образом, речь о СНА/"Азове". В статье не говорится о том, "у власти в Украине находится фашистская диктатура".

  2. Some things here about the post-1945 far-right and Eurasianism.

    Dr Paul

  3. Interesting to see irony in RT story by Neil Clark, "Why we need a new anti-war coalition of the left and right" (http://www.rt.com/op-edge/191208-nato-began-ww3-yugoslavia/). Clark's line that conference speakers offered "...solutions on how we can derail the ongoing war against sovereign states" seems to have ignored Russia's war on sovereign Ukraine.

  4. The universe "idiots" is wider. Because you haven´t say a word , about Obama´s useful idiots, or his zionist agenda.
    And yes, is more pertinent than ever,
    to stop the idea of a multipolar world, that must be achieved, by a motherfucker like Putin, or with the support of the Holy Spirit, I do not care the means. Gazelles can not fight wolves
    I am not able to see the point ,(because my own limitations do not let me see anything wrong) in supporting the last bastion of traditional values. The first thing that surprises me, until perplexity, is to see how many matches, socially speaking , I have with Sergei Glazyev or Dugin. What is wrong in your opinion, about traditional values ?
    What has Putin in store for us ? A refurbished and hidden "cheka management 3.0" ? I do not think so. The very idea of a bowl of cherries USA-Europe, without going into further detail, called TTIP, as an opposite idea of a Vladivostok - Lisbon (or Dublin) Europe, is not enough attractive. TTIP is a source of wealth for the usual oligarchy and a source of misery for the people
    Wherever USA put their claws, Russia delivers support. Countless examples, well known by anyone. Venezuela, Ecuador, Argentina, Siria, Cuba, Ukraine...and so on
    Is this a manichean matter of a battle between goods and bads ? And the good guys are, a bunch of jewish tycoons ? Spare me the laughter
    Best regards, an spanish idiot left-winger

  5. Good to know I'm not alone in noting the obvious folly for lefty useful idiots and their short-sighted participation in those far left/right coalitions:

    Institute for Research and Education on Human Rights: "Russia’s International Conservative Forum Draws American White Nationalists"

    The American source: "Ron Paul and the Neo-Fascists"

    Pegida Protests: "Putin, Help Us"

    Ron Paul Meeting with Maria Le Pen:

    "Ron Paul to Keynote Catholic Traditionalist Summit with NeoFascist and Overtly Anti-Semitic Speakers"

    Anti-racist Canada: "Ron Paul, a Neo-Fascist, and The Birchers Are Coming to Canada"


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