Austria’s far-right Freedom Party has signed a cooperation agreement with Russia’s ruling party, according to the party leader, Heinz-Christian Strache, who also recently met with Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn, the designated national security adviser to President-elect Donald Trump, reports Alison Smale.
“The Freedom Party, founded in the 1950s by ex-Nazis, surged this year to nearly capture the largely ceremonial presidency of Austria in May, but was defeated in a final runoff on Dec. 4,” says Smale.
European leaders see this as Putin’s latest attempt to meddle in their affairs and potentially weaken Western democracies though the extent of Russian President Vladimir V. Putin‘s involvement is still unclear.
Just as white supremacy groups here in the U.S. are moving to gain power and influence in the new Trump administration, Strache’s trips to New York and Moscow were designed to demonstrate that his party, which still leads in Austrian public opinion polls, is a major political player, with international standing and with a potential for greater governmental influence and power. -Danielle Bizzarro