October 25, 2017

The “Successes” of Populists in Europe

The parliamentary elections in Germany (September 24, 2017), Austria (October 15, 2017) and the Czech Republic (October 20–21, 2017) confirmed the trend for the growing influence of the right European political forces of populist, Euro-skeptic and nationalist orientation, which support Russia's policy and are for the restoration of cooperation with it.

Evidence of this is the high results of the “Alternative for Germany” (AfD, 11.5 %, third place), Freedom Party of Austria (FPO, 27.4 %, second place) and the Czech political forces “Action of Dissatisfied Citizens” (ANO, 29.6 %, the first place), Civic Democratic Party (12 %, second place), “Freedom and Direct Democracy” (10 %), Communist Party of the Czech Republic and Moravia (10 %), which got seats or increased their presence in the parliaments of their countries.

Such results are considered by Moscow as a prerequisite for changing the EU's attitude to Russia with the prospect of lifting the sanctions imposed on it for the annexation of the Ukrainian Crimea and provoking an armed conflict in the East of Ukraine. Proceeding from the said, Moscow talks about an alleged “victory of the Russian Federation”, which “is restoring its positions in Europe”.

Putin's regime's belief in such perspectives has a certain influence on its policy towards Ukraine. The manifestation of this is the RF leadership's refusal from the previous agreement on the possibility of deploying UN peacekeeping forces throughout the conflict zone in the Donbas, not just on the front line, as well as intensifying the shelling of the positions of Ukrainian troops and civilian settlements, which has been taking place lately.

At the same time, as always, the rather ghastly and confirm the lack of understanding of the nub of the current situation. Thus, according to A. Merkel, who actually retained the position of the Federal Chancellor of Germany, the AfD's getting seats in the parliament of the country will in no way affect the FRG's foreign policy.

Angela Merkel Sebastian Kurtz

A similar position is taken by S. Kurz, the leader of the Austrian People's Party, who won parliamentary elections in Austria. According to his repeated statements, if he gets the post of Chancellor, Austria will continue the course in the general direction of the EU policy.

Andrej BabišFrom the point of view of the objective reality, the Czech Republic's foreign policy will not change substantially. Despite the relations with Russia of the leader of ANO — the Czech oligarch and media mogul, A. Babiš, who is the main candidate for the post of prime minister of the country, his business is heavily based on trade with EU countries, and also depends on the EU's loans. Given these circumstances, immediately after the elections in the Czech Republic, A. Babiš spoke of the need to increase the country's role in the EU, and also expressed his intention to preserve the orientation of its foreign policy.

Against this background, the situation in Moldova is very illustrative, namely the removal from power of the country's President I. Dodon (the leader of the Socialist Party), who in November 2016 won the presidential election thanks to Moscow's direct support.

Igor Dodon and Andrian CanduThus, October 20, 2017, the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Moldova temporarily removed I. Dodon from his post at the request of the government of the country (controlled by the pro-European majority in the Parliament), accusing the President of the Moldovan state of violating the Constitution and provoking a political crisis. The reason for this was I. Dodon's refusal to adopt the candidacy of the Minister of Defense proposed by the government. Instead of I. Dodon, the country's presidency were temporarily transferred to the Speaker of the Moldovan Parliament A. Candu. In this way, the pro-European forces of Moldova have essentially undermined Moscow's attempts to return the republic to its sphere of influence.

 

In general, the above-mentioned circumstances prove once again Russia's failure not only to make a real impact on the situation in the European Union, but also to realize its interests in the post-Soviet territories (even in Moldova). And more so, this is impossible in relation to Ukraine, as shown by another frustration of Russia's plans for a large-scale destabilization of the situation in our country.