Russia's friends in black
Why Europe's populists and radicals admire Vladimir Putin
IF EUROPE'S far-right parties do as well as many expect in May's European election, no world leader will be happier than Vladimir Putin. For a man who claims to be defending Russian-speakers in Ukraine against fascists and Nazis, the Russian president has some curious bedfellows on the fringes of European politics, ranging from the creepy uniformed followers of Jobbik in Hungary to the more scrubbed-up National Front in France.
There was a time when Russia's friends were principally on the left. There are still some pro-Moscow communists, for instance in Greece. But these days the Kremlin's chums are most visible on the populist right. The crisis in Ukraine has brought out their pro-Russian sympathies, most overtly when a motley group of radicals was invited to vouch for Crimea's referendum on rejoining Russia. The “observers” included members of the National Front, Jobbik, the Vlaams Belang in Belgium, Austria's Freedom Party (FPO) and Italy's Northern League, as well as leftists from Greece and Germany and an assortment of eccentrics. They declared that the ballot, denounced by most Western governments as illegitimate, had been exemplary.
So what does Europe's far right see in Mr Putin? As nationalists of various stripes, their sympathies might have lain with their Ukrainian fellows fighting to escape Russian influence. In fact, argues Peter Kreko of Political Capital, a Hungarian think-tank, beyond favourable treatment in Russian-sponsored media, many are attracted by Mr Putin's muscular assertion of national interests, his emphasis on Christian tradition, his opposition to homosexuality and the way he has brought vital economic sectors under state control. For some, pan-Slavic ideas in eastern Europe play a role. A common thread is that many on the far right share Mr Putin's hatred for an order dominated by America and the European Union. For Mr Putin, support from the far right offers a second channel for influence in Europe.
The flirtation with Russia first became apparent in eastern Europe some years ago, despite memories of Soviet occupation. Jobbik, which took 20% of the vote in Hungary's recent election, denounced Russian riots in Estonia after the removal of a Soviet war memorial in 2007. But a year later it backed Russia's military intervention in Georgia. Far-right parties in Bulgaria and Slovakia also supported Russia. Since then, Russian influence has become apparent in western Europe, too. Marine Le Pen, leader of the National Front, has been given red-carpet treatment in Moscow and even visited Crimea last year. At December's congress of Italy's Northern League, pro-Putin officials were applauded when they spoke of sharing “common Christian European values”. Among those attending were three nascent allies: Geert Wilders of the Netherlands' Party for Freedom, Heinz-Christian Strache of the FPO, and Ludovic de Danne, Ms Le Pen's European adviser.
最先和俄罗斯套近乎的是东欧地区，发生于数年前，尽管它有过被苏维埃侵占的历史。不久前的匈牙利选举大会上，选民占20%的“为了更好的匈牙利运动”曾在07年当全国已然忘却苏维埃对其的侵占史后，公开谴责俄罗斯在乔治亚州发动的暴乱。然而，一年过后，格鲁吉亚转而赞同俄军事干涉乔治利亚。保加利亚和的极右党同样也支持俄罗斯。从此，俄在西欧的影响力也已显露无疑。 法国民族阵线领袖马琳·勒庞（Marine Le Pen）去年已在莫斯科受到红毯待遇，甚至还访问了克米利亚。12月，意大利的北方联盟国会上，当亲普京官员发言共同拥护欧洲基督教价值观时，博得阵阵掌声。当时的参会人员为三大新生盟友：荷兰右翼自由党领袖威尔德(Geert Wilders)、奥地利自由党领袖海因茨.斯特拉赫(Heinz-Christian Strache)和马琳·勒庞的欧洲顾问Ludovic de Danne（没查到译名）。
For Mr de Danne the parties share an aversion to the euro and, more widely, to the EU's federalist dream. They oppose globalisation and favour protectionism. They seek a “Europe of homelands”, stretching from Lisbon to Vladivostok. As for Ukraine, he calls the revolution in Kiev “illegitimate” and says the referendum in Crimea was justified by the pro-Russian sentiment of the Crimean population. By attaching themselves to the EU and America, Ukraine's new rulers expose their country to IMF oppression and the pillage of its natural resources. Such dalliance with Mr Putin may create trouble for Mr Wilders, who sees the EU as a monster but is a strong supporter of gay rights. According to Mr de Danne, the Eurosceptic alliance has agreed to co-ordinate only on internal EU matters, not international affairs.
在（Mr de Danne）看来，这些党派均憎恶欧元，或说得更广些，均不认同欧盟未来的联邦蓝图。他们反对全球主义，支持保护主义。他们在寻找“欧洲家园”，该版图横跨里斯本至符拉迪沃斯托克（俄罗斯一城市）。至于乌克兰，他称的基辅革命（乌克兰共和国首都）是非法的，克里米亚的公投因本国的亲俄情感是合理公正的。乌克兰新任领导人亲附欧盟与美国，实质上是置本国于国际货币基金组织压迫之下，置国内自然资源于遭掠夺境地。如此与普京拉近关系，之后或许会给那位视欧盟为禽兽却大赞同性恋关系威尔德（Mr Wilders）带来诸多麻烦。据（Mr de Danne）透露，反欧联盟已达成协议，仅就欧盟内部事务展开合作，国际事务不在合作范围之内。
A degree of admiration for Mr Putin also stretches to Britain's UK Independence Party (UKIP). It sees Ms Le Pen and Mr Wilders as too tainted by racism and is parting ways with the Northern League. But UKIP's leader, Nigel Farage, while insisting he dislikes Mr Putin's methods, thinks the Russian leader has skilfully wrong-footed America and Europe. The EU, he declared in a televised debate, “has blood on its hands” for raising Ukraine's hopes of EU membership and provoking Mr Putin. Mr Farage's critique is perhaps a way of attacking the EU's enlargement policy, which is now linked by many to immigration. Yet it is also an implicit admission that the club remains attractive to those outside it.
追捧普京热潮已袭至英国独立党(UKIP)。它认为马琳·勒庞 and 威尔德已被民族主义冲昏头脑，正和北方联盟分道扬镳。英国独立党领袖奈杰尔·法拉奇(Nigel Farage)尽管不认同普京的处事方法，但仍觉得这位俄罗斯总统巧妙地将美国和欧盟打得措手不及。一次，他在电视辩论上曾批判欧盟“双手沾满血腥味儿”，因为是它挑起俄米争端进而引发战争，是它鼓吹乌克兰心生独立入欧的想法并迫害普京。奈杰尔·法拉奇如此批判欧盟，或许意在攻击欧盟的扩张策略，这种策略现多和移民相关联。然而，无可否认的是，正如城外人总是想往城内挤，许多非欧盟成员仍是热切希望加入该组织。
Mr Putin is too clever to rely only on Europe's insurgent parties, successful as some may be. So as well as cultivating anti-establishment groups, he has worked to entice national elites. While Jobbik advocates closer economic relations with the east, Hungary's Prime Minister, Viktor Orban, is already doing it. A veteran of the struggle against communism, embodying the catchphrase “Goodbye, Comrade”, Mr Orban recently signed a deal with Russia to expand a nuclear-power plant, financed by a 10 billion ($14 billion) Russian loan. He has sought to weaken European sanctions against Russia. In Italy the Northern League's leader, Matteo Salvini, may shout “viva the referendum in Crimea”, but Matteo Renzi, the centre-left prime minister, has also been assiduous in resisting tough sanctions.
虽然单靠欧洲那些叛党，普京或许就能实现自己的目标，但他非常精明，在这过程中还动用了其它力量。一方面鼓吹建立反欧盟组织，另一方面还诱使国家精英为其所用。尽管还在提议加强与东欧的经济联系，匈牙利总理维克多·奥班（Viktor Orban）早已将其付诸实践。维克多·奥班驰骋打倒共产主义战场多年，充分阐述了“再见，战友”这一短语。近期，他与俄签署了扩建核发电站的协议，将得到俄100亿英镑（140亿美元）的经济援助。他竭力削减欧盟对俄罗斯的国际制裁。意大利北方联盟领袖马特奥·萨利维尼(Matteo Salvini)也许会呼喊“克米利亚公投万岁”，但中左翼总理马特奥·兰奇(Matteo Renzi)也在奋力抵制严格的国际制裁。
Anti-EU parties will no doubt become stronger and noisier, but they lack the numbers and the cohesion fundamentally to change EU business in the European Parliament. Their effect will be more subtle. They may force mainstream parties in the parliament into more backroom deals, deepening the EU's democratic deficit. Their agitation is more likely to influence national politics and to push governments into more Eurosceptic positions. And they will provide an echo chamber for Mr Putin, making it harder still for the Europeans to come up with a firm and united response to Mr Putin's military challenge to the post-war order in Europe. There is more at stake in May than a protest vote.
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