UK elections, UKIP disappearance and Kremlin shadows

The UK election of June 8 is a shock result. The Tories, led by Theresa May, came out of the election with a small advantage over Labour, but they lost their absolute majority in parliament and did not get the electoral mandate they wanted to impose a hard Brexit. Coalition talks to form a majority government are underway between Conservative Prime Minister Theresa May and the DUP (Democratic Unionist Party) – Northern Ireland unionists with links to both the extreme right in Britain and loyalist paramilitary groups. During the troubles there were incidents of collusion between the British security forces (the British Army and the Royal Ulster Constabulary) which included some off-duty soldiers and police taking part in loyalist attacks, passing weapons and intelligence to loyalists, turning a blind eye to attacks and trying to impede police investigations

Labour have said they are ready to form a minority government. Jeremy Corbyn has increased the Labour vote to more than 40%, Labour’s best showing since 1997. Scotland’s SNP rule has ended and the likelihood of a second referendum on an independent Scotland has receded.  They have to settle for 32 seats after losing 12 to Tories, Labour and the LibDems

The collapse of UKIP

It is interesting to observe the disappearance of the party’s political scene that dominated the struggle to get Britain out of the European Union. The UK Independence Party did not get a single seat in Westminster. In recent years, Nigel Farage’s party won 24 seats in the European Parliament in 2014 and he became the leader of the deployment in favour of Brexit. Perhaps, since the party’s main objective had been achieved, Ukip might have outlived its purpose. But it may also be that the exit from the European Union today is also understood by the British as a leap into the unknown and potentially devastating for their future, and therefore the party may have lost all popular support. Nigel Farage resigned from UKIP after the European Referendum in June last year, announcing he wanted to retire to private life. Farage is now considering returning as UKIP leader for a fourth time following Paul Nuttall’s dramatic resignation after the party’s disastrous showing in last week’s election.

The meddling of Russia

In the electoral system, we can not ignore nor underestimate the Russian interference that for some time seems to infiltrate in all American and European democratic elections. Ukip has often been accused of receiving Russian support to destabilize Europe. Farage initially denied it, but then admitted to meeting Alexander Yakovenko, the Russian ambassador to the United Kingdom in 2013. Farage has never hidden his support of Russian President Vladimir Putin, who is defined as the leader he admired in An interview in 2014. Farage’s links with the Kremlin do not stop at suspicion: it seems to be part of the now-worldwide network that aims to defend Russian interests within Western democracies. Farage, met Donald Trump and Stephen Bannon, Trump strategist, in the summer of 2012 when Bannon was interested in weaving the network of extreme right-wing movements in Europe. It should be noted that former FBI director Comey has just “accused” US President Trump of interference with Russia, highlighting how this has had a real impact on US presidencies last November

Russian influence was also found in the elections in the Netherlands and France. Months ago, James Clapper, director of the US National Intelligence, had been commissioned by the US Congress to conduct an investigation into Russian clandestine funding to European parties over the last decade. The link between Russia and Eurosceptic movements has been a matter of study for some time and has been busy in many, trying to rebuild the path of influence, promise and funding. In 2013, the Eurasian Intelligence Center has published a list of anti-European parties, with xenophobic and anti-liberal tendencies, who have relations with Moscow. In the list are Ukip (United Kingdom), Democratic National Party (Germany), Jobbik (Hungary), Alba Dorata (Greece) and Front National (France).

The Economist published in February 2015 an article titled “Putin’s war against the West”. The populist party expert, Anton Shekhotsov, told the Economist that Russia has no habit of funding political parties, but politicians on whom it trusts. According to the Capital Politico website, 24 populist right-wing parties in the European Parliament, 15 have relations with Russia. For the Economist, the Kremlin will continue to invest in populist, rightist or leftist forces, provided they exert their pressure on Moscow on the institutions of the European Union. Igor Sutyagin, an expert at the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), is a “hybrid war” that combines conventional military power with computer warfare and conditioning tactics. The objective is to weaken the Atlantic alliance and the European Union for economic and strategic or geopolitical reasons.

Jeremy Corbyn, the new Moscow target?

Not least is the news, never confirmed, that Russia has dumped their old friend Farage since he left the political scene, to switch their support to a new ally. There is great interest in Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn. Russia Today has given extensive and positive coverage of its electoral campaign, and for the first time in the diplomatic history of London, the Russian ambassador to the capital, Alexander Yakovenko, issued a statement after the results, greeting the success of Corbyn as a “radical turnaround”.

Personally I do not believe this operation, given the right positions so far by the Kremlin, but whether this is true or not, at this point the problem is how to prevent Russia from interfering in the elections of Western and democratic countries. Putin has achieved his result in the United States with Trump and the United Kingdom with Brexit, but not in the Netherlands and France elections. Perhaps we have opened our eyes late, but it is time to realize that Russia’s goal is to destroy and dominate Western democracy and especially European countries and the European Union itself, which pushes for a future where the Powers do not have to be in the hands of gas and oil multinationals, but those of citizens.

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