Putin’s favorite writers in Hungary, Serbia and France had a great week
Over the past week, Vladimir Putin’s armed forces have suffered serious setbacks in their unprovoked attack on Ukraine. During the same time period, however, Putin has made remarkable achievements in his broader campaign against Western democracies.
While the Russian military was forced to retreat after a failed attempt to encircle and capture Kyiv, and as global outrage grew at reports of Russia’s mass atrocities on throughout Ukraine – in Hungary and Serbia, politicians with close ties to Putin won resounding elections.
Meanwhile, in France, a right-wing political leader (who has received Russian funding) has shown surprising strength in the polls, and seems likely to emerge from the election. Sunday election when one of the two candidates is about to run for president of that country.
These are dire outcomes for Europe and NATO. Moreover, they are part of a global trend that shows the forces of illiberalism and nationalism, signatures of the movement that Putin has promoted during his two decades in the Kremlin, at steady achievements.
On Sunday, Viktor Orban and his Fidesz party won a landslide victory in Hungary. Orban, a close ally of Putin who has systematically abolished democracy in his country, celebrated the victory as a defeat to Western liberal values. He also singled out Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelenskyy as one of his opponents along with some of his favorite targets including American financier George Soros and the “international leftist”. Critics rightly noted that all of these attacks were anti-Semitic whistles, echoing the general tactics of the Hungarian leader. Putin, celebrate the victory.
Serbian President Aleksandr Vucic, along with Orban, is considered one of the two leaders in Europe closest to Putin. He also took a win over the weekend. He, like Orban, systematically restricted press freedom and other basic democratic rights in his country. In fact, Vucic has taken an even stronger pro-Moscow stance since invading Ukraine, refusing to approve even an initial wave of sanctions against Russia, as Hungary did. (Hungary has resisted further sanctions and has become increasingly defensive against Russia in recent weeks.)
In both Hungary and Serbia, opposition leaders questioned the legitimacy of the elections.
In France, markets have been roiled by the fact that far-right candidate Marine Le Pen has steadily risen in opinion polls ahead of Sunday’s presidential election. If she finishes second, along with French President Emmanuel Macron, the two will face the final on April 24. Although Macron is currently favored to win, the odds are Le Pen’s strong showing has led some analysts to consider possibilities unthinkable until recently. Le Pen will win.
A Le Pen victory would create deep divisions within the EU and NATO. An heir to the leadership of the right-wing movement her father had started, Le Pen remains a fixture in French politics with her radical anti-immigrant and nationalist policies. Le Pen has met Putin in the past, and her party has accepted Russian funding. During the current election cycle, she received funding from a Hungarian bank. Equal Guardians reported, French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin warned, “She is dangerous. She can win this presidential election.”
“Vladimir Putin has been actively promoting right-wing groups and candidates across the West for years — including Trump, of course. In any case, his goal is to weaken the Western alliance.”
While Putin’s invasion of Ukraine has reinvigorated NATO and cemented the North Atlantic alliance, victories by Putin’s allies like these could hamper the West’s ability to act against it. Putin in the future. They will also promote more isolationist, anti-immigration views in the EU and — as history has shown with Orban and Vucic — the far-right victory heralds the rise of democratic rights and the guard.
In the US, Fox News host Tucker Carlson drew positive parallels between Orban’s victory, and also denied the arguments (all evidence to the contrary) that Russia was somehow in favor of Orban. for Orban (and Trump). “As far as I know, the rest of the international community in both cases blames Russia, which is not involved in either case. That’s the excuse, isn’t it,” Carlson said.
Carlson has become a loud and proud Orban cheerleader, visiting Hungary earlier this year and suggesting that America can learn a lot from that country. By the way, the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) will be held for three days in Hungary this May.
But despite Carlson’s assertions, the evidence was clear. Vladimir Putin has been actively promoting right-wing groups and candidates across the West for years — including Trump, of course. In any case, his goal is to weaken the Western alliance.
You will recall Trump, according to his team, planning to pull the US out of NATO, picking just one good example of this. Putin’s attempt to influence the Brexit referendum in the UK is another example. He also sought to weaken pro-democracy forces and support those who shared his autocratic (non-liberal) views.
It is this pattern of behavior, this long, complex, multinational effort that is why President Joe Biden, since the campaign, has argued that the defining issue of our time is the struggle. between democracy and autocracy. It is, of course, connected with the rise of other anti-democratic forces around the world such as China and major political movements that are also illiberal, like Narendra Modi in India or Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil. (It is no coincidence that Putin’s Russia has devoted special efforts to forging alliances with each of these leaders and their countries.) attempt to make voting more difficult.
To sum it up, if you think about Putin’s atrocities in Ukraine, Orban’s victory in Hungary, Vucic’s elections in Serbia, LePen’s campaign in France or the GOP’s efforts to attack democracy are those unrelated story, you don’t understand the nature of the struggle to which Biden has repeatedly been introduced.
Furthermore, while it is heartening to see the courage and resilience of the Ukrainian people as they stand up to the Russian invaders – who are threatened to the bone by Ukraine’s embrace of democracy – even last week’s results from other fronts of Putin’s campaign should give us pause.
We must do all we can to ensure democracy wins in Ukraine. But we would also be dangerously short-sighted if we considered success of any kind there as the end of this struggle, or if we allowed such success to make us complacent. .
As Biden said, this is a generational challenge and it is one whose outcome is not guaranteed unless we understand the totality of the threat and the determination it takes to defeat it. .
https://www.thedailybeast.com/putins-favorite-authoritarians-in-hungary-serbia-and-france-had-a-great-week?source=articles&via=rss Putin’s favorite writers in Hungary, Serbia and France had a great week