Putin Juggles Muslims and the Far-Right While the West Fumbles
Russian President Vladimir Putin appears to possess an uncanny ability of juggling and swaying incompatible groups to his own advantage. He specifically seems to excel when the concerned groups are disenchanted with Western politics.
At home, Putin keeps the eccentric and devout Muslim Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov on a short leash, while in Europe he supports far-right groups, which defy Europe’s multicultural ideals and raise hackles about “the Islamization” of Europe. One of those far-right groups, the Front National, has just won the first round of French regional elections. Russia’s crackdown on LGBT groups is another example of its support for conservative, traditional, and (presumably) Christian values.
While a staunch supporter of the Russian Orthodox Church, Putin at the same time invokes the wrath of Allah in his annual speech when referring to Russia’s recent brawl with Turkey over the downing of Russian fighter jet on the Turkish-Syrian border. Prominent Russian anti-corruption activist and opposition leader Alexey Navalny has even recently lamented Russia’s “Muslim-welcoming” actions and the opening of the largest mosque in Moscow against the background of the UK blocking the building of a major mosque in London and Switzerland’s ban on minarets...