Home Politics A Balkan paradox | eKathimerini.com

A Balkan paradox | eKathimerini.com

by admin
0 comment
A Balkan paradox

Volen Siderov, leader of the nationalist Bulgarian Attack party, gestures during a rally in Sofia, March 3, 2011, marking the 133rd anniversary of the Balkan country’s liberation from Ottoman rule in 1878. (AP)

It seems like a historical paradox, but after the end of the communist system, the far right made a strong appearance in the Balkans.

In Bulgaria, Volen Siderov, leader of the fiercely anti-NATO and anti-European Union Attack party, won 24 percent of the vote in the 2006 presidential elections. In Romania, Corneliu Vadim Tudor, leader of the Greater Romania Party, received 33 percent of the vote in the second round of elections in June 2000. Meanwhile, Vojislav Seselj, founder and chairman of the far-right Serbian Radical Party (SRS). , won 49.10 percent in the second round of the presidential election in September 1997.

The reasons for this phenomenon are explored by Petros Papasarantopoulos in his book “Modernism and the Far Right in the Post-Communist Balkans”.

The writer, an expert in political history of the Balkans, affirms that after the collapse of communism in these three countries, the Leninist legacy permeated both the socialist parties that succeeded it as well as the far right, with the nationalism as a common denominator. It is precisely for this reason that all three countries have seen the rise of governing coalitions of socialists and the far right. The phenomenon was unique in all of Eastern Europe (except Slovakia).

The “underdeveloped East,” as many analysts understand it, has been much less infected by the far-right virus than the developed West.

However, over time, socialist parties have modernized, losing an important part of their historical heritage; Meanwhile, far-right parties remained attached to their communist past, evolving into a far-right communist hybrid that gradually became marginalized or disappeared electorally.

The disappearance of the traditional far right in the Balkans, at a time when the far right continues to gain power in Western Europe, has given rise to what the author calls “the Balkan paradox”. The “underdeveloped East,” as many analysts understand it, has been much less infected by the virus of the far right than the developed West. Many stereotypes in public discourse are being challenged. The explanations provided by the author are worth reading carefully.

There is, however, no room for complacency. In all three countries, mutant far-right parties have emerged in recent years, which have very few links to the communist past. They are characterized by anti-Europeanism, pro-Russian sentiment and vaccine refusal.

At the same time, in the rest of Eastern Europe, major parties are moving towards far-right parties, as seen in Hungary and Poland. It is no coincidence that Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban enjoys great popularity among far-right audiences in the Balkans, as he attempts to cultivate political ties with conservative political leaders such as the Serbian president Aleksandar Vucic and of course Nikola Gruevski, former prime minister of what is now North Macedonia, who sought asylum in Hungary after being sentenced to prison for corruption.

According to the author, a possible explanation lies in the perceptions and mentalities prevalent in Balkan societies – mentalities at odds with the liberal values ​​of Western civilization. When these mentalities find the appropriate political offer, they gain electoral power.

You may also like

Leave a Comment

@2030 All Right Reserved. Designed and Developed by zebalkans