For decades, the Soviet Union bewitched the left. Now some of the Kremlin’s biggest admirers are rightwingers, says Edward Lucas in The Times.
Republicans used to revere the American intelligence community; now only a third of them share the CIA’s belief that Russia interfered in the presidential election. Nearly half regards Russia as an ally now. Those with favourable views of Vladimir Putin have tripled in two years, to 32 per cent.
The same thinking is cropping up in other countries too. The hard-right Alternative for Germany takes an anti-Nato, pro-Kremlin line (and, incidentally, draws support from Germans of Russian extraction). The Sweden Democrats, a Scandinavian counterpart, are pro-Kremlin. So is the right-wing Fidesz party which rules Hungary, and the nationalist Independent Greeks, part of that country’s coalition government.
This approach is reminiscent of left-wing sympathy for the Soviet Union. The less you actually knew about the workers’ paradise, the easier it was to be enthusiastic. The abominable conditions it inflicted on its workers, the grotesque inequality, the climate of fear and the lies about history belied all its claims to be humane or heroic.
Russia interferes systematically in our political systems, most conspicuously by stealing politically sensitive information and leaking it, as the American and French presidential elections bear abundant witness.
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