Vladimir Putin has been supporting right-wing political parties in Europe for some time. He is already a major financial backer of Marine Le Pen's Front National in France, which is poised to score major gains in regional elections. The Kremlin has nurtured ties with the neo-fascist Jobbik party in Hungary, and has been courting the German AfD (Alternative for Germany) party.
Now the Kremlin has organized a major conference, starting on Sunday, in St. Petersburg, featuring extremist organization from across Europe.
German neo-Nazis will attend Sunday a Russian international conference aimed at raising support from EU far-right parties for Moscow's interests in Ukraine. The Russian Conservative Forum, which will be held in St. Petersburg, will host Udo Voigt, a European MP from the National Democratic Party of Germany (NPD), alongside representatives from 10 other radical EU parties, including the Greek Golden Dawn and the Italian New Force.
The purpose of the meeting is to establish a kind of "Comintern" where the Kremlin can coordinate efforts to undermine European unity:
The stated purpose of the Forum, which is organized by Rodina, the Russian National Patriotic Union, is the establishment of a pan-European movement which would lobby for Russia's interests, especially in the face of possible further sanctions against Moscow. The proposed council will allow coordination between conservative and nationalistic forces in Europe and Russia, and would enable Moscow to influence political processes in the European Union.
Putin needs all the friends he find. But with this conference he is really scraping the bottom of the barrel.