There is a large amount of ideological overlap between some European political parties and the Russian government. Significantly, these include parties considered to be ‘mainstream’ – it is not just ‘fringe’ parties that share elements of the Kremlin’s world-view.
European political parties range from those that are ‘hardcore’ in their ‘anti-Westernism’ to those that are fully pro-Western. The former are much more open to cooperation with Russia and are generally aligned with its priorities.
Strong election showings from anti-Western parties can change the character of entire national political systems. Most countries are ‘resilient’ to ‘anti-Western’ politics, but a large minority are favourable towards Russian standpoints. Important players like France and Italy form part of the ‘Malleable Middle’ group of countries which Moscow may seek to cultivate.
The populist, anti-Western revolt of the last decade did not originate in Russia. But it is yet to run its course, and Western politicians should act now to prevent Russia taking further advantage of it.
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