Sunday, May 18, 2014

Window on Eurasia: Right-Wing Parties are Russia’s Fifth Column in Europe Against NATO and the US, Baburin Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, May 18 – Sergey Baburin, a prominent leader of the Russian right, suggests that right-wing political parties in Europe now form a veritable fifth column for Russia on the continent which can be counted on to support Moscow against their leftist governments and against NATO and American policies as well.

            In an interview entitled “Our ‘Fifth Column’ in Europe,” Baburin told Sergey Ryazanov of “Svobodnaya pressa” that he welcomed the growing understanding and cooperation between Russia, on the one hand, and groups like Le Pen’s National Front in France, on the other (

            He suggested that the National Front’s slogan, “Nationalists of all countries, unite!” is important because it will help Russians to get over the idea that a nationalist is “something terrible and extremist” and involves “a certain hatred to other countries.”  That is not the case, Baburin said.

            “In the rest of the world, a ‘nationalist’ is someone who loves his people, since Europeans distinguish him from a ‘patriot’ who is someone who loves his state. For Russia, these two words in reality are synonyms because we speak not about the state but about the Fatherland, since the Fatherland and the people are indivisible.”

            He continues: “European nationalists oppose the gathering of Europe into a single country via the withering away of European nations.” They support Europe as “a union of peoples,” not as “a union of regions.”  That puts them in the same camp with Russian nationalists and in opposition to the US, the standards of which “look like the colonization of the earth by new means, like the destruction of national differences and national cultures.”

            Russian leaders have not always understood this, Baburin continued. In 2006, he recalled Dmitry Rogozin, then head of the Rodina fraction in the Duma, excluded Baburin from it because the latter had invited Jean Marie Le Pen to the Russian parliament.  “But times are changing, and the Russian authorities happily are changing as well.”

            Now, people in Moscow understand that “Russia does not have a more reliable ally in France than the National Front which in the French parliament and the EU parliament has always been part of the group cooperating with our country.” That can and should be the model for cooperation with other rightist parties in Europe.

            Baburin said that he preferred to speak of these parties not as “’agents of influence’” but rather as “’allies’” and “’partners.’” There are three reasons for viewing them this way. First, they support national values. Second, they oppose the European leftist vision of a Europe of the regions. And third, they are against any expansion of NATO’s role on the continent.

            But the most important cause for developing close ties with these groups was shown during the Crimean referendum, he said.  Unlike their governments, “the right wing groups do not suffer from double standards.  If the right of a people to choose its own fate is declared, then all peoples must have this right.”

            “Once Crimea voted as it did, then its will must be taken into account,” Baburin said. “When the European governments recognized Kosovo, they did not ask Serbia or the Kosovo Serbs. Consequently, the European right said to their governments: Your double standards show that you are acting as toadies to the US.”

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