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Russian State TV Hails Dutch Far-Right Hardliner’s Election Victory

Dutch Party for Freedom leader Geert Wilders (C) in the Russian State Duma in 2018. Geert Wilders / X

A leading Russian state television anchor has praised the victory of Dutch far-right leader Geert Wilders in The Netherlands’ elections, saying his win plays to Russia’s advantage in its war on Ukraine.

Wilders — who ran on an anti-Islam, anti-immigration and anti-European Union platform — has praised Russian President Vladimir Putin in the past and supports ending Dutch military aid to Ukraine.

“Just to understand why this is important to Russia, for example, yesterday, during the 17th Ramstein-format meeting, the current prime minister of The Netherlands [Mark] Rutte promised fighter jets to [Ukrainian President Volodymyr] Zelensky,” Russian state television presenter Olga Skabeyeva said Thursday.

“But Wilders, who in his pre-election program said that he would stop helping Ukraine in the war, is coming to power. Wilders has also already said that he’s in favor of immediate negotiations and all Ukrainian refugees leaving Holland,” she continued. 

The Netherlands has been a staunch ally of Ukraine since Moscow’s February 2022 invasion, and alongside Denmark led efforts to supply Kyiv with F-16 fighter jets.

Skabeyava went on to say that “the most level-headed thinking and sanity” is coming from the European far-right — politicians who, she said, “it was customary to call fascists until recently.”

“Yesterday [Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor] Orban said that European bureaucracy is leading the European Union into chaos,” she said. “He meant European and Brussels democracy. By the way, Orban was the first to congratulate Wilders on his new position.”

“Indeed, he still has to create a coalition, but he’s already stated that he won’t enter a deal with the left. The likely next prime minister of the Netherlands himself is being called the worst thing that could happen to Europe.”

The Kremlin-backed media outlet Sputnik blamed sanctions on Russia and an influx of Ukrainian refugees for Europe’s rightward political shift.

Preliminary results show Wilders’ Freedom Party (PVV) winning 37 of 150 seats in the lower house of the Dutch Parliament, significantly more than any other party, leaving it responsible for forming a coalition government.

An October investigation by Dutch outlet Follow the Money said that PVV members had participated in propaganda events and visits to Russia paid for and organized by ultranationalist State Duma lawmaker Leonid Slutsky. 

Wilders himself traveled to Moscow in 2018 on a controversial working visit. In an interview with the Kremlin-backed RT network, he called Putin “a leader, whatever you think of him,” saying he “applauds” him for standing for the Russian people.

Dutch-Russian relations have been strained since Russian-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine shot down Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 in July 2014, killing 198 Dutch civilians on board and 298 people in total.

FTM reported that Wilders tried to hide his Russian connections and did not publicly comment on his Moscow trip, though he did post photographs on Twitter.

The official PVV party platform does not mention Russia beyond saying that the Netherlands should prepare for a “tsunami of fortune seekers” in Europe, in part because “the Russian aggressor unlawfully invaded Ukraine.” However, it also says the PVV will not send money or promised F16 fighter jets to Ukraine.

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