23 November 2015

Is Russia Insider sponsored by a Russian oligarch with the ties to the European far right?

The emails leaked by the Anonymous International last year give us a few insights into the workings of the English language pro-Putin propaganda website Russia Insider.

Its editor Charles Bausman launched the website in September 2014, and described the rationale behind the website as follows:
It was started in September 2014 by a group of expats living in Russia who felt that coverage of Russia is biased and inaccurate.
The problem is media control by a few corporations and interest groups, and their close ties with governments and business interests.
Instead of challenging, questioning, and fostering open discussion, they tend to promote those interests.
Ironically, this is what Russia Insider itself has been doing since its launch, namely publishing and re-publishing pieces of Russia's disinformation warfare against the West and Ukraine.

Charles Bausman, editor of Russia Insider and a regular commentator for Russia Today (RT)

13 November 2015

Dmytro Yarosh’s Resignation from the Right Sector

The recent resignation of Dmytro Yarosh from the leadership of the Right Sector may be a sign of the forthcoming changes in the strategies of both the Right Sector and the Ukrainian state.

In order to understand the significance of Yarosh’s resignation statement, one needs to consider two important points related to Ukraine’s domestic situation and international relations.

9 November 2015

Moscow opts for conspiracy theories to explain the Flight 9268 crash

The crash of the Metrojet Flight 9268 operated by Russian airline Kogalymavia has presented Moscow with a dilemma: what explanation of the crash would be most useful for the Kremlin's positioning both domestically and internationally?

15 October 2015

The far right "March of Heroes" in Kyiv, Ukraine (photo report)

A number of Ukrainian far right organisations, in particular, the All-Ukrainian Union "Freedom" (Svoboda) and Right Sector, took part in the "March of Heroes" held in Ukraine's capital Kyiv on 14 October. The march was dominated by harsh anti-government and nationalist rhetoric.

Far right activists and their supporters rally on the Mykhailivska Square for a meeting before starting the march

The Crimean blockade (in English and Russian)

My article on the Crimean blockade in English and Russian:

"The Crimean blockade: how Ukraine is losing Crimea for the third time" (openDemocracy)
"Догнать и перекрыть" (Грани.Ру)

19 September 2015

Russian fascist militants give money to Swedish counterparts

One of the previous posts addressed the issue of two Russian far right organisations, namely the Rodina party and the Russian Imperial Movement (Russkoe Imperskoe Dvizhenie, RID), engaged in building of an international extreme right network under the title “World National-Conservative Movement” (WNCM). According to its political programme, the WNCM - rather than being just a framework for conferences - is focused on action.

A few days ago, new information has emerged that further corroborates this argument. On 5-6 September 2015, representatives of the RID visited Sweden and took part in a meeting of the Swedish fascist organisation Nordic Resistance (Nordiska Motståndsrörelsen), which was invited to join the WNCM earlier. During his talk, the RID's leader Stanislav Vorobyov, warned about "a full-scale war against the traditional values of Western civilisation" and explained that the uniform in which he showed up at the meeting was a symbol of their fight against "the Jewish oligarchs in Ukraine" on the side of pro-Russian extremists in Eastern Ukraine. Furthermore, he claimed that "the Zionist strategy in the Middle East would be used int he future to divide and rule the nations of Europe".

Stanlislav Vorobyov, the leader of the Russian Imperial Movement, speaking at the meeting of the "Nordic Resistance", 5/6 September 2015

16 September 2015

A new book: Alina Polyakova - The Dark Side of European Integration

A new book published in the "Explorations of the Far Right" book series which I edit for ibidem-Verlag:

Alina Polyakova, The Dark Side of European Integration: Social Foundations and Cultural Determinants of the Rise of Radical Right Movements in Contemporary Europe

15 September 2015

Russian politicians building an international extreme right alliance

(This article originally appeared in Norwegian in Verdens Gang.)

Russia seems to be getting serious about building an international alliance of extreme right parties that would aim at undermining the liberal democratic consensus in the West. In addition to providing financial support for parties such as France’s Front National and using extreme right activists and politicians as tools of propaganda, Russia is now building what it calls the “World National-Conservative Movement” (WNCM). A number of the internal documents (passed to me by the Moscow-based "Sova Centre") provide an insight into the agenda and structure of the WNCM.
The logo of the World National Conservative Movement

12 September 2015

The three pins of a murderous grenade by the Rada

In the course of the violent protests that took place by the Verkhovna Rada (the building of the Ukrainian parliament) on August 31, three National Guards were killed, and several dozens more servicemen, as well as protesters themselves, were wounded. The 3,000-strong protesters demanded from the parliament not to endorse amendments to the Ukrainian constitution. They were co-organised by the far-right Svoboda party, and two populist parties – the Radical Party of Oleh Lyashko and the Ukrainian Union of Patriots (better known as UKROP).

The three national guards were killed by a single grenade. The Ukrainian authorities suspect that it was thrown by a member of the Sich Battalion associated with Svoboda. (While it is not clear whether the suspect was an actual member of Svoboda, he expressed his positive attitudes towards the party on social media.)

However, even if a Sich Battalion member threw the deadly grenade that killed three and heavily wounded many more, it may be too convenient to blame him alone for the incident. (Some very bad, manipulated analyses of the incident only obscure the problem.) Metaphorically, the grenade had three safety pins; in other words, there are three aspects that one needs to consider to understand the complex nature of this tragedy.

17 July 2015

A new book: Eurasianism and the European Far Right

Lexington Books published a volume Eurasianism and the European Far Right: Reshaping the Europe-Russia Relationship edited by Marlène Laruelle, to which I contributed two chapters.

13 July 2015

A statement on the developments in the Ukrainian town of Mukacheve

Members of the Ukrainian, anti-European far right organisation Right Sector have killed one civilian and injured four more, as well as injuring six policemen, using Kalashnikov rifles and a heavy machine gun, in the West Ukrainian town of Mukacheve.

As I have argued previously in this blog, the overwhelming majority of Ukrainian far right organisations are criminal gangs that exploit a radical right-wing ideology for mobilisation purposes. The incident in Mukacheve seems to be an example of a criminal (far right) group trying to hijack an illegal business operated by another (non-political) criminal gang.

A protest of the Right Sector
Consequently, the Right Sector has tried to mobilise the Ukrainian society in support of the allegedly patriotic agenda of the Right Sector. So far, the Right Sector has succeeded in organising protests in more than a dozen of cities and towns across the country, including the capital of Ukraine, Kyiv. Despite the fact that the protests have failed to gather any significant amount of Ukrainian citizens - reflecting the fringe status of the Right Sector in the Ukrainian politics - the security threats of the protests organised by armed members of the criminal, far right gang are potentially devastating. Right Sector thugs demand, in particular, the resignation of the Minister of Interior, dissolution of the parliament, and early parliamentary elections.

The Right Sector has clearly challenged the democratic nature of the Ukrainian state and is trying to undermine the state monopoly of the legitimate use of physical force. The actions of the Right Sector are blatantly unconstitutional, and the state must act urgently and forcefully against the criminal, anti-democratic actions of the Right Sector.

6 July 2015

The anti-Semitic demo in London - a Moscow's KGB-style psy-op?

As the readers of this blog perfectly know, the Kremlin is actively cooperating - sometimes financially - with European far right parties. However, Moscow may also be engaged in even more sinister activities, namely whipping up racial hatred in the West in order to discredit democratic societies that have taken a strong position on sanctions against Russia for its war on Ukraine.

While it cannot be conclusively proven yet, the "anti-Jewification" demonstration that took place in London on 4 July might be an example of such activities. At least, there are sound reasons to suspect exactly this.

The demonstration was organised by the neo-Nazi Eddy Stampton who is notorious for drunken violence towards women, and was attended, among others, by his neo-Nazi mate Piers Mellor; the head of the far right IONA London Forum Jeremy "Jez" Bedford-Turner; and Britain-based activists of the Polish fascist National Revival of Poland (Narodowe Odrodzenie Polski).

Violent neo-Nazi Eddy Stampton leading the demonstration, 4 July 2015, London. Photo: Jack Taylor/AFP/Getty Images

10 June 2015

State of EU-Russia relations: A brief analysis of the EP vote

On 10 June 2015, the European Parliament adopted a resolution "on the state of EU-Russia relations". It is a strong resolution that condemns the illegal annexation of Crimea and Russia's war against Ukraine, as well as reminding that Russia is "directly or indirectly, involved in a number of 'frozen conflicts' in its neighbourhood – in Transnistria, South Ossetia, Abkhasia and Nagorno Karabakh".

Importantly, the resolution states that "at this point Russia [...] can no longer be treated as, or considered, a ‘strategic partner’".

In the context of this blog, I am happy to say that the European Parliament raises concerns directly related to the themes regularly discussed here, namely the cooperation between Putin's Russia and the Western far right:
Is deeply concerned at the ever more intensive contacts and cooperation, tolerated by the Russian leadership, between European populist, fascist and extreme right-wing parties on the one hand and nationalist groups in Russia on the other; recognises that this represents a danger to democratic values and the rule of law in the EU; calls in this connection on the EU institutions and Member States to take action against this threat of an emerging ‘Nationalist International’;
Is deeply concerned with Russia´s support for and financing of radical and extremist parties in the EU Member States; considers a recent meeting in St Petersburg of the far right parties an insult to the memory of millions of Russians who sacrificed their lives to save the world from Nazism;

7 June 2015

Sergey Glazyev and the American fascist cult

Among Russian politicians who established relations with the Western far right already in the 1990s, Sergey Glazyev, currently an adviser to Russian President Vladimir Putin on the issues of regional economic integration, is one of the most prominent.

In 1992-1993, Glazyev was Minister of External Economic Relations of the Russian Federation, but resigned in protest over the decision of contemporary president Boris Yeltsin to dissolve the State Duma (Russian parliament) – the decision that resulted in the unsuccessful coup attempt staged by then vice president Aleksandr Rutskoy and then chairman of the Duma Ruslan Khasbulatov in October 1993 in Moscow. Glazyev was elected to the Duma in 1994 and became the chairman of the parliamentary Economic Affairs Committee.

Sergey Glazyev

29 May 2015

"Putin's fascist Russia?" Roger Griffin's comments on the concept

Several authors argue that either Putin's Russia is already a fascist state or Putin is building one. Some of the most recent articles arguing along this line can be found here:

Alexander J. Motyl: Is Vladimir Putin a Fascist?
Rob Garver: Putin Isn’t Reviving the USSR, He’s Creating a Fascist State

Here I post a few comments from Professor Roger Griffin, the world's leading expert on fascism and the founder of the New Consensus school within Fascism Studies.

2 May 2015

Russia and Front National: Following the Money

A new leak of the text messages originating from a hacked smartphone of a high-ranking officer of Russia’s Presidential Administration sheds further light on the relations between the Russian authorities and their far right allies in France.

The hackers from the Anonymous International have disclosed thousands of text messages sent to and by Timur Prokopenko, deputy chief of the Domestic Politics Department of the Presidential Administration of the Russian Federation. Before he started working in the Presidential Administration, Prokopenko headed the youth wing of the ruling United Russia party, the Young Guard, that was established in 2005, next to the Nashi movement and Aleksandr Dugin’s Eurasian Youth Union, to defend Russia from the largely virtual threat of a “colour revolution”.

Prokopenko rose up to become a powerful figure in the Presidential Administration. The hacked messages reveal the internal developments in the Domestic Politics Department, how it communicates with and tries to control the already intimidated mass media, organises and finances pro-Putin rallies and movements in Russia. The messages dating back to March 2014 also mention Marine Le Pen, the leader of the French far right National Front, and contribute to better understanding of the relations between Russia and Le Pen’s party.

Timur Prokopenko

1 April 2015

What does the fascist conference in St. Petersburg tell us about contemporary Russia?

On the 9th of May, Russia will plunge into ritualised mass celebrations to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the victory over fascism in the “Great Patriotic War”. At the same time, on the 22nd of March, a few weeks before the celebrations, a Russian party with a presumably patriotic name “Motherland” held the International Russian Conservative Forum (IRCF) that hosted over a dozen of notorious European and American fascists, white supremacists and anti-Semites.

To add injury to the apparent insult, the Motherland party held the IRCF in St. Petersburg that suffered, in 1941-1944, one of the longest sieges in the military history (Siege of Leningrad) that resulted in over a million casualties of civilians alone.

Is this (yet another) case of Russia’s ideological schizophrenia or something else?

14 March 2015

The Uneasy Reality of Antifascism in Ukraine

The Uneasy Reality of Antifascism in Ukraine
First published in German language in Beton International: Zeitung für Literatur und Gesellschaft (10 March 2015). The German version can be found below.

Ukrainian antifascists hold a banner that reds: "Against political terror". Kyiv, 19 January 2015

For almost twenty years of Ukraine’s independence, the term “antifascism” used to have very limited currency in the established political discourse in Ukraine. Until 2010, “antifascism” was primarily used as a form of self-identification by an element of Ukraine’s left-wing movement, as well as being employed by the far right groupuscules to refer to their left-wing opponents. Hence, until 2010-2011, “antifascism” remained a notion that largely belonged to the subcultural sphere of the physical and symbolical strife between left-wing and far right activists.

10 March 2015

The far right "International Russian Conservative Forum" to take place in Russia

The Russian fascist Rodina (Motherland) party that was founded by Russia's current Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin is organising a large conference titled "International Russian Conservative Forum" (IRCF) to be held in St. Petersburg on 22 March 2015.

19 February 2015

German Die Linke delegation visits right-wing terrorists in Eastern Ukraine

Just two weeks after the leader of the pro-Russian right-wing terrorist organisation "Donetsk People's Republic" (DNR) Aleksandr Zakharchenko declared that Ukraine was run by "miserable Jews", a delegation of the German party Die Linke visited the author of this anti-Semitic jibe and delivered what they called "humanitarian help".

Pro-Russian right-wing terrorist Aleksandr Zakharchenko (2nd from the left) and the delegation of Die Linke: Wolfgang Gehrcke (3rd) and Andrej Hunko (4th), Donetsk, 16 February 2015

30 January 2015

Whither the Ukrainian Far Right?


The early presidential and parliamentary elections in Ukraine that took place in May and October 2014 correspondingly proved to be disastrous for the Ukrainian party-political far right.

Oleh Tyahnybok, the leader of the All-Ukrainian Union “Freedom” (Svoboda), obtained 1.16% of the vote in the presidential election, while his party secured only 4.71% of the vote in the parliamentary election and, eventually, failed to pass the 5% electoral threshold and enter the parliament. In comparison, Svoboda managed to obtain 10.44% of the votes in 2012 and form the first ever far right parliamentary group in the history of Ukraine.

Dmytro Yarosh, the leader of the Right Sector, obtained 0.70% in the presidential election, and 1.80% of the voters supported his party in the parliamentary election. The Right Sector, at the same time, can only provisionally be considered a far right party, and “national conservative” would perhaps be a more relevant and cautious term. In contrast to Svoboda, the Right Sector interprets the Ukrainian nation in civic, rather than ethnic, terms, while Yarosh’s election programme even insisted that the values of human dignity and human rights should become a fundamental ideology of a new constitution of Ukraine.

29 January 2015

On the statement of the University of Piraeus regarding Kotzias and Dugin

Following the publications in this blog and elsewhere about the contacts between current Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias and Russian fascist Aleksandr Dugin, Professor Angel Kotios, speaking on behalf of the University of Piraeus, has issued a statement in which he has tried to distance from Dugin. In particular, the statement says:

With relation to the negative reports referred to a lecture by Professor Aleksandr Dugin at the University of Piraeus and in particular the Department of International and European Studies, as Dean of the Faculty of Economics, Business and International Studies, I would like to clarify the following:

The lecture by Professor Dugin held on 12 April 2013 as part of the course "The Foreign Policy of Russia" with tutor Professor N. Kotzias, and it took place after a proposal of Mr. Dugin himself, via his collaborators, and, therefore, in no case was he invited by Professor Kotzias.
Anyone who is more or less familiar with the academic practice, knows that a lecturer cannot simply "invite himself" to give a paper in a course of another lecturer. Even if this were the case, then Kotzias had to check the background of the intrusive lecturer and eventually reject to have Dugin at the University of Piraeus. He did not reject. However, this was not the case at all, and the transcript of the lecture confirms that Dugin was invited.

28 January 2015

Aleksandr Dugin and the SYRIZA connection

Following the previous article on the far left/right coalition government in Greece, I was asked to provide more comments on the connections between SYRIZA and Russian fascist Aleksandr Dugin.

First of all, a few words about Dugin himself (interested readers will find my longer piece on Dugin here, and a thesis on him by my colleague Andreas Umland here).

Who is Dugin?

Dugin's ideology is called Eurasianism, but experts prefer to use the term "Neo-Eurasianism", because Dugin's ideology has a limited relation to Eurasianism, the interwar Russian émigré movement that could be placed in the Slavophile tradition. Rather, Neo-Eurasianism is a mixture of the ideas of French esoteric René Guénon, Italian fascist Julius Evola, National Bolshevism, the European New Right and classical geopolitics.

26 January 2015

Greek left-wing SYRIZA forms a coalition with the pro-Kremlin far right

After a landslide victory in the early parliamentary elections held on 25 January 2015, the Greek Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) that secured 149 seats in the new parliament has surprised the left-wing voters and sympathisers by agreeing to form, already on 26 January, a coalition government with the far right Independent Greeks party (ANEL) that now has 13 seats. Popular support for the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn led by currently imprisoned Nikolaos Michaloliakos has slightly decreased: the neo-Nazis have secured 17 seats (one seat less than in 2012), but the Golden Dawn is still the third largest party in Greece.

Both SYRIZA and ANEL are so-called "anti-austerity parties" implying that they oppose reducing budget deficits as a response to the Greek financial crisis, as well as rejecting the austerity package put forth by the EU and the IMF. The "anti-austerity" platform may seem the only agenda that has drawn the two parties they share, but they also share a similar approach to foreign policy issues - an approach that may undermine the EU unity over the Russian threat.

14 January 2015

Ликбез по определениям и классификации

Учитывая терминологический беспорядок в русскоязычном и украиноязычном медиа-пространстве, я решил составить краткий ликбез, в котором объясняются различные понятия ("крайне правые", "фашисты" и т.д.), которые не только неверно употребляются в медиа, но и стали - совершенно несправедливо - ругательствами, хотя они являются научными терминами в политологии и новейшей истории.

Итак, крайне правыми (far right) называют все идеологическое поле, которое находится правее (т.е. является более радикальным), чем консерваторы (правые). Поле "крайне правые" является общим термином, который может употребляться для описания любой идеологии - от правого радикализма до нацизма.