After eyebrows Stateside were raised at the way in which the Republican Party’s nominee for President, Donald Trump, had first of all eulogised about Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, and then suggested the Russians hack the personal details of his Democrat opponent, some in the UK have looked again at the links between Russia and the populist right in this country. And the results have been both revealing and worrying.
Nigel “Thirsty” Farage, former Oberscheissenführer of the Kippers, has previously attracted suspicion over his willingness to conceal potential Russian links, as Matthew Holehouse observed: “Nigel Farage and his MEPs voted today against measures calling for greater transparency of donations from outside the EU to political parties … It came in a series of anti-Putin proposals proposed in Strasbourg”. There was more.
His article, from June last year, continues “Ukip were joined by the European radical right in opposing the measures, including the [French] Front National, which has received funding from Russia … It comes after Mr Farage and his colleagues have poured praise on Mr Putin and criticised the EU for ‘provoking the Russian bear’ … Ukip MEPs including Mr Farage, Patrick O’Flynn and Tim Aker voted against the measures, as did Marine Le Pen, the FN leader, and members of Hungary’s Jobbik”.
Mr Thirsty has also been a regular fixture on Russian state sponsored broadcaster RT, as the Guardian noted: “The Ukip leader has appeared so frequently that he is cited in literature for the TV station Russia Today as one of their special and ‘endlessly quotable’ British guests. ‘He has been known far longer to the RT audience than most of the British electorate,’ Russia Today claims”. And it gets worse.
UKIP’s sole MP, Douglas “Kamikaze” Carswell, who is often at loggerheads with Farage, has also struck a conciliatory tone towards the regime in Moscow. Taking his cue from a past European territorial dispute, on Ukraine he told “What should we do? Take great care, for a start … At the time of the Schleswig-Holstein question, when Britain was the world's hyperpower, we avoided wading in. We would be wise to be cautious now”.
And then there is Arron Banks, another Farage pal who has given (or maybe just loaned) generously to groups advocating for Britain to leave the EU. As The American Interest observed, “He lives in Bristol with his Russian wife Katya, formerly named Ekaterina Paderina”. She might have been deported “were it not for the intervention of her local MP, the Liberal Democrat Mike Hancock”. Now there’s a name to pitch.
Hancock’s links to Russia are well-known. Indeed, the Guardian related how “Former colleagues said they had raised serious concerns about the activities of Hancock's young Russian companions”. There may be a completely innocent and coincidental explanation to all this, but everywhere you look in Kipper land, it keeps coming up Russians.
Perhaps UKIP’s next leader will disown such links. But don’t bet on it.