The Russia-Index 1.1 is here. It is updated with 11 new EU-sceptic parties voting behaviour in European Parliament in votes with a Russian interest. The index now contains 17 parties from EFDD, ECR, GUE/NGL and NI.
The background to the index is that I have noticed during the autumn that Sweden Democrats MEP:s, despite the party publicly in Sweden saying the opposite, have been ending up with more well-known Pro-Kremlin parties in votes with direct or indirect interest for Russia. In order to broaden the perspective on how EU-sceptic parties are divided in their views of Russia I have gone through all the votes of the new Parliament in 2014 and I have found 12 votes fit for the index. EU-sceptics both to the right and the left end up in very different corners when you add these votes together in an interesting pattern.
Most votes are concerning implementation of Eastern Partnership strategy through association agreements with Moldovia, Ukraine and Georgia. But here is also votes on lower (or none) custom fees, scientific cooperation, condemning Russias closure of NGO Memorial, heroes of democracy as The Guardian calls Memorial.
To illustrate the differences between different parties I have done a very simple index. The index does not take into account the importance of the votes, but treat them all the same. This is of course something you can criticize but I have decided to keep it simple to get an overview. Parties receive 1 for a YES, 0 for Abstention and -1 for NO.
The index range between +12 to -12, higher negative number the more positive it is for Kremlin interest. In version 1.1 the difference from version 1.0 is adding of a lot more parties, the number of votes are the same. Version 1.0 also contained an illustration on how the Sweden Democrats could have swinged the balance in the EFDD- group which is excluded in this post.
PVV gets the maximum -12, SD, UKIP, FN and LN all ends up on -10. On the other side of the scale you find True Finns +11, Danish Peoples Party +9 and the Swedish Left Party +8.
How every party has voted is presented in the matrix below. Please note that some parties have been divided in some votes, this especially the case for AfD, the majority of the party have decided if the party will get a is a YES, Abs or NO in the matrix. In one case AfD ended up 3-3 between YES and Abs, and received 0,5 index points.
Some conclusion from the matrix above:
*Sweden Democrats, UKIP, Front National, Party for Freedom & Lega Nord forms a solid NO-bloc, where Kremlin has an interest of a no-vote and none-EU action.
*The one who tends to vote against Russian interest, despite being EU-sceptics, are found in the Baltic Region. Highest points have True Finns, Danish People´s party, Swedish Left Party and Law & Order from Lithuania. Law & Order would probably have ended up with a higher index score if they had been present during more votes. Exception is the Sweden Democrats.
*The group EFDD is divided. A large minority always break the ranks. The breakers are found in TT, M5S and KNP.
*Other Nordic EU-sceptics to the right votes very different to Sweden Democrats. True Finns are truly the Sweden Democrats opposite. Only in one vote have they been voting the same.
*Swedish Left Party MEP Malin Björk has broken GUE/NGL ranks seven times. In several votes she has
been the only yes-voter in the group. The Swede is the rebell in the GUE/NGL in these votes, most voting ”in Russian interest” is the Danish People´s movement against EU.
*AfD in ECR is a party split in two, where usually two MEP:s votes more in ”Russian-interest” than the others. This is not reflected in the matrix, nor in the index.
*Sweden Democrats & UKIP always vote the same. Lega Nord & Front National also always vote the same.
EUbloggen received reactions from Nordic MEP:s on version 1.0 – read them:
- The True Finns MEP Jussi Halla-aho comments here (in English).
- The Left Party MEP Malin Björk comments here (in Swedish).
- The Danish Peoples Party MEP Morten Messerschmidt comments here (in Danish).
- The Sweden Democrat MEP Peter Lundgren comments here (in Swedish).
More facts on the content of votes:
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Thanks for your classification-by-strength of commitment of EP parties to the Kremlin. It extents the analysis by Ukrainian political science researcher Anton Shekhovtsov whose classification he blogged in September 2014: http://anton-shekhovtsov.blogspot.ca/2014/09/the-national-bolshevik-alliance-is.html
While there are elements of the far left that are converging with the far right in support of Kremlin policies, it appears that the far-right have most sympathy for Russian domestic policy: homophobia, xenophobia and misogyny for example. However, the far left seem to be attracted to Russian foreign policy as part of their critique of the USA, EU and NATO power – and they view Russia as an anti-dote, or barrier to Western ”hegemony”. However, when the far-left examine Russia’s autarkic, ”traditional values” repressive domestic polices, some discussion occurs in their ranks about supporting homophobia, xenophobia, and misogyny.
In North America, it appears that the radical left are bigger supporters of the Kremlin, and Chris Majka has reflected this element in: http://rabble.ca/blogs/bloggers/christophermajka/2014/09/ukraine-left-turn-right-through-looking-glass
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