16:57 GMT16 June 2021
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    In an article for Russia's RIA Novosti, Alexandr Harlamenko, Head of the Scientific Information Center of the Russian Academy of Sciences' Institute on Latin America, gives his insight into Russia's real and potential allies among left and right-wing political opposition parties in Europe and the United States.

    MOSCOW, January 16 (Sputnik) — Recently Russia has again, as in the days of the Cold War, come under intense pressure from the self-styled "masters of the universe," bent upon forcing the country to change its domestic and foreign policy.

    The ability to withstand attempts at destabilization is determined chiefly by Russia's internal potential. But in a united, interconnected world, one cannot do without allies.
    On the one hand, this includes those states which are similarly interested in the right to make a sovereign choice. On the other, it includes those political forces inside countries which are opposed to the ruling circles which hold to an aggressive line.

    The Right

    In the first area Russia is doing a great deal, and with some success. In the second, a paradoxical trend is observable. The country which has inherited from the Soviet period a great number of leftist and center-left partners has recently received the unexpected support from the opposite side of the political spectrum. To start with, well-known ultra-right forces critical of the European Union stepped out against anti-Russian sanctions, among them the leader of France's National Front, whose party is considered fascist in France. Then, Hungary's Jobbik, known for its anti-Semitism and the persecution of the Roma, and until recently supporters of the Maidan, recognized the right of Crimea, Donbass and Ukrainian Transcarpathia to self-determination. Praising the Russian president became fashionable even among Western "fighters against illegal immigration". And late last year American "anti-globalists" from among the ranks of the Republican Party flocked to Moscow. Among them there were even advocates for the secession of Texas and other southern states, once part of the Slave-owning confederation, from the United States. And this amid the coming sesquicentennial anniversary of the US Civil War and the assassination of President Lincoln.

    We can have a laugh, and together with some journalists rejoice about how many friends of Russia are coming to visit. We can hope for a miracle and say that if not today then tomorrow the EU and the United States might share the fate of the USSR. But jokes aside, emotion is a bad advisor in politics.

    The previous government in Kiev also tried to get along with Oleh Tyahnybok's "Freedom" Party and others like them. The tragedy in Ukraine has shown that the "love affair" with the radical right can finish the same way at the start of the 21st century as it did at the start of the 20th. The Greek "Golden Dawn" Party, opening a branch in Spain, openly promotes Nazism, its leader in jail awaiting trial on charges of organizing a criminal grouping. Jobbik has more than once been cited for the destruction of monuments to our soldiers, and its interest in Transcarpathia has its specificities: this region, populated by a Hungarian minority, had once been annexed by Budapest, when it was a satellite of Hitler's Reich, and was lost for the same reason. But it is not ideology, nor even historical memory, but today's political reality that is at issue.
    On January 5 in the US, the session of the country's new Republican Congress set to work. Both chambers are now controlled by the Republicans, many of whom had come to the brink of calling for a war with Russia in 2008, and in 2014. At the same time, Washington and Brussels have agreed behind closed doors about a new "partnership", which gives multinational corporations the right to sue governments. Against this backdrop, if the Euro-skeptics are able to weaken the EU, the form of "nationalism" which may emerge victorious as a result may be even more extensive and more dangerous to the world.

    The Left

    In Europe there is a real political force opposed to such a prospect. This is the Party of the European Left, comprising the German Linke, the Greek Syriza, the Spanish Podemos, the French Left Front and a number of others, whom it is not worth confusing with right socialists, who have faded into a pale copy of neoliberalism. The left has its greatest influence in the countries which have experienced the "shock therapy" of the EU and the IMF: Spain, Portugal, Ireland, and especially Greece.
    We must hand it to the Linke, to Syriza and to others among the European Left. They have consistently opposed the fascist terror in Ukraine, and US-NATO pressure on Russia. But this is not mentioned often enough in Russian media. Apparently, someone believes that everything on the left threatens to bring about the specter of communism, making it difficult to understand where the real threat comes from.

    Time does not stand still. On January 25, the ancient home of democracy will see early elections. According to the polls, the left-wing Syriza may receive a majority. The party takes a balanced position in relation to the EU, but the country has already been threatened to be kicked out of the Eurozone if the "enemies of austerity" are to win. Who knows, perhaps other countries may follow the example of Greece, and today's political center –the social democrats, will enter into a coalition with the left in the face of threats from the right. A precedent exists: such a coalition is already managing the German state of Thuringia. If Europe sees a "left turn" of the type witnessed in Latin America ten to fifteen years ago, plans for a transatlantic "partnership" risk sharing the fate of the "Free Trade Area of the Americas," whose creation was thwarted by Hugo Chavez, Luiz Lula and their allies.

    Now let's think for a moment: is it a coincidence that in the days when from Thuringia to Athens the breeze of a "left turn" has blown, French President Francois Hollande has replaced his anti-Russian rhetoric with peace-loving statements? And is it by chance that the French Socialists did not want to see the leader of the National Front at the recent unity march?

    Russia's Choice

    In light of what is happening in the world, it is worth remembering the half-forgotten, but never disproven fact that in the history of Western Europe and America, the ideas of the political right, and that of the extreme right in particular, have always been connected with the tradition of imperial expansion to the east. In addition, it behooves us not to forget that for nearly a century, this tradition has been peppered with a conscious or unconscious desire for revenge upon the lands of historical Russia, as well as Serbia and Greece –for the red "fall into sin", and for the victory over fascism. The leopard does not change its spots, and to tame it is a thankless and dangerous task.

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.


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