Virtual War

TimeWatch Editorial
March 22, 2017

What is rather interesting is an analysis by The Political Capital Institute dated back on March 14, 2014. The topic under consideration by the Institute was “The Russian Connection: The spread of pro-Russian policies on the European far rightIn the midst of the present controversy regarding Russia’s influence in the 2016 Presidential Election and the anticipated intrusion into the upcoming elections in Europe this year, it is important that we understand that Russia’s assault did not begin in 2016. The article begins like this.

“In 2009 Political Capital was among the first to point out Russia’s growing interest in East European far-right parties. At the end of 2013 a number of analysts3 noticed a similar development. This time around, Russia is involving itself with far-right parties of Western Europe. Currently, Russian influence in the affairs of the far right is a phenomenon seen all over Europe as a key risk for Euro-Atlantic integration at both the national and the Union level; especially in view of the upcoming 2014 European Parliamentary elections.” The Russian Connection: The spread of pro-Russian policies on the European far right, page 2.

It is therefore useful to understand that, as important as it is for Russia to interfere with the elections of the United States of America, its interest stretches much further than just the United States. Lacking the ability to compete with her rivals with physical military equipment, and unable financially to enter into another arms race, Russia has developed an effective psychological and virtual arsenal that she has been using for some time now. Listen to how the article continues.

“There is an increasingly evident ideological link between some of the European far-right parties and the current Russian leadership. This may be interpreted within the framework of Russia’s geopolitical strategy. Since the start of the Putin-era, leaving behind the social and economic failures of the preceding period and the attending embarrassments of the international bargains; Russia has set its sights on the restoration of the country’s status as a world power. This is tied to Russia’s imperial ambitions and its unique modernization path being backed by energy-industry resources. Russia’s foreign-policy activism has been given a new impetus in Vladimir Putin’s third presidential term. These points are well complemented by Putin’s reformulated ideology built on authoritarianism, law-and-order policies, nationalism and statehood, and the proclamation of a kind of post-communist neo-conservatism’ against Western values perceived to be on the decline.” The Russian Connection: The spread of pro-Russian policies on the European far right, page 3.

So this style of government has been effective with the Putin attempt to influence and control the European Nations. Notice what the article says. His ideology is built on authoritarianism, Law and order policies, nationalism and statehood. That sounds strangely familiar to what seems to be the kind of transformation taking place in the United States during these last few weeks. It is therefore revealing that the actions taken during the Presidential Election did not begin or end with the election itself, but has a far reaching goal of governmental and decisional control.

One of the points that need to be emphasized is that the west has not really been paying much attention to what has been happening in Asia regarding the rising influence of Russia. Suddenly, however, the 2016 Presidential Election and the Russian intrusion has awakened the majority of westerners. The writers of the Russian Connection have seen this coming for a while.

“In 2009, we demonstrated the connection between some far-right formations and Russia through the examples of several post-communist countries, including Hungary, Bulgaria, Serbia and Slovakia. The special status of Bulgaria, Slovakia and Serbia (cultural/historical reasons tied to statehood and a Pan-Slavic ideology) has made the public and the political elite in these countries more receptive to Russia.” The Russian Connection: The spread of pro-Russian policies on the European far right, page 3.

Then they began to take a look at each one of those countries and the influence that Russia has had on each one.

“In Bulgaria the nationalist, anti-EU and statist party, Attack (ATAKA), formed in 2005, is the strongest proponent of pro-Russian relations. In Slovakia, following the departure of the Slovak National Party (SNS) from Parliament, the leader of the People Party - Our Slovakia (Ä˝SNS), Marian Kotleba, emerged as a new force on the Slovak far right. In Hungary, Jobbik’s 2010 election program already described the establishment and maintenance of good relations with “an increasingly influential Russia” as vitally important. In May 2013, in a lecture at Moscow’s Lomonosov University Gábor Vona characterized Russia as the guardian of European heritage as opposed to a “treacherous” European Union.  In other words, in these countries the main features of the relationship(s) between the far-right and Russia have been apparent for quite some time. These include the policy of ‘Eastern opening’ that emphasizes economic interests, a peculiar ideological bonding, and pushing Russia’s agenda on international forums.” The Russian Connection: The spread of pro-Russian policies on the European far right, page 4.

So here we are. As engaging as the matter of Russia’s involvement in the Presidential Election and the impact that it has had upon the political climate in the United States, there is an emerging global shift in governance across the east and a rising threat across the west. The question is; where will this lead? How will the United States ultimately react? It would be quite unlikely for the United States sit back, without response. We shall see.

Cameron A. Bowen

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