In the meantime, other far-right parties in Western Europe, such as the Austrian Freedom Party (FPÖ), the Belgian Vlaams Belang (VB), the Dutch Party for Freedom (PVV), the Italian National Alliance (AN), and Lega Nord, have all succeeded in gaining parliamentary representation and increasing popular support.The FPÖ received 21.4 percent of the popular vote in the 2013 Austrian parliamentary elections, and the FN conquered a dozen cities in the 2014 French municipal elections, establishing itself as France’s “third political force.” Academic research on the electoral successes of far-right parties attributes variation in electoral outcomes to voters’ characteristics, socioeconomic changes, immigration, and differences in political institutions, such as thresholds for entering parliament and representative versus majoritarian systems.The battle between Marine Le Pen and her father over the control of the party he founded illustrates how the far right has reinvented itself across Europe. Le Pen publicly distanced herself from her father after he called Nazi gas chambers a “detail of history.” By May, Mr.Le Pen had been suspended from the party, a decision that he unsuccessfully appealed.According to Putin’s foreign policy doctrine, an unstable or failed state is better than a hostile state aligned with the West.However, the Kremlin’s destabilization efforts have aimed at countries far beyond its bordering states, reaching far into Eastern and Western Europe.This toolkit has been refined since Putin took office in 2000 and deployed with increasing sophistication in Russia’s immediate neighborhood since 2008.Since the Euromaidan Revolution of 2013, Ukraine has witnessed the application of all the levers of influence and destabilization at the Kremlin’s disposal: the manipulation of Ukraine’s national politics, the exertion of economic pressure through energy dependence, and the launching of an information war aimed at discrediting the Maidan as a democratic movement.
The Schengen zone of free travel—one of the most radical and comprehensive efforts to create a united Europe that has ever been seen, besides the Eurozone—is at risk.
Cultural issues, rather than purely economic ones, have become the key to catapulting the far right into the political limelight.
France’s National Front is at the forefront of this far-right mainstreaming.
The main argument in this paper is that Euroskepticism—the rejection of EU institutions and integration, and the loss of national sovereignty and cultural “dilution” that these integration processes represent—feeds into Putin’s anti-Westernism as the master frame driving the far-right–Putinist agenda.
Social conservatism, while conceptually unique, is a supporting frame that buttresses both Euroskeptic and anti-Western discourses.