The project will focus on monitoring and analysis of the phenomenon of left-right coalitions, commonly called red-brown coalitions, or querfront.
While being hardly a new phenomenon, the querfront obtained unprecedented proportions since the outbreak of the so-called “Ukrainian crisis.” One will often find conservative and state-centered critique of the EU and progressive/liberal social values, calls to restore the strong nation-state and switch to the policies of “national capitalism,” and enthusiastic support of sub-imperialist regimes like that of Vladimir Putin on both the left and the right.
This occurrence is no coincidence. In the Kremlin’s “hybrid war” against Ukraine, “hybrid ideology” is a prominent feature. In Russia, as Vadim Shtepa writes, it has led to a state where “‘there are no ‘rightists’ or leftists,’” or any reason for a multi-party system. It is the incredible contradictions “ranging from clerical messianism to Soviet patriotism” that have allowed to drum up support for the “Russian world” as an amalgam of anti-western, anti-democratic sentiments, lending support to Russia’s authoritarian leader.
But outside the country, Russia has also been quite successful at exercising its hybrid ideology – it has managed to woo not only the far right, but also the far left, building on historic “comrade” networks of USSR times, and exploiting intrinsic anti-westernism and Russia’s successful disinformation campaign against Ukraine. A fluid approach to ideology allows Russia to find the arguments that appeal to diametrically opposing groups, no matter how contradicting they are, and promote the most extreme voices. This is yet another instance of weaponized information that helps the Kremlin feed divisions within the West, The Interpreter’s report The Menace of Unreality states.
Additionally, Reft & Light will focus on a facts-based analysis of the state of the far-right in Ukraine, an under-explored topic where mythologizing and noise has drowned out realistic assessments. Partially, this is one of the reasons that the Kremlin disinformation has been so successful among the European far-left.