Far-right parties are on the rise in Europe, particularly in the post-soviet space. The 2008 financial crisis provided these parties with an electoral boost, and the refugee crisis threatening the continent has inflamed nationalist and xenophobic populism. In this new issue brief, “What’s Left of Europe if the Far Right Has Its Way?”, Dr. Alina Polyakova, Deputy Director of the Dinu Patriciu Eurasia Center, and Dr. Anton Shekhovtsov, a visiting fellow at the Institute of Human Sciences in Vienna, Austria, explore the realities and repercussions of the rise of far-right parties in Eastern Europe.
The rise of far-right parties in Central and Eastern Europe poses a real threat to those nascent democracies. As Dr. Polyakova and Dr. Shekhovtsov explain, in post-soviet countries, where democratic values are less entrenched, far-right parties “tend to be more anti-democratic and extremist than their counterparts in Western Europe.”
Dr. Polyakova and Dr. Shekhovtsov argue in spite of Europe’s ongoing crisis of illiberal politics, the post-socialist transformation of Europe can still be saved. Tracking the rise of far-right political parties in Eastern Europe’s post-socialist space, Dr. Polyakova and Mr. Shekhovtsov identify not only the issues fanning the rise of the far-right, but also strategies adopted by centrist parties that either aid or hinder the furthering of far-right politics. This issue brief calls for center-right and center-left European parties to defend their democratic ideals and offers clear options to curtail the rise of the far-right in Central and Eastern Europe.