Archive for June 9th, 2012

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Euro 2012 has begun – What of the far-right extremism?

June 9, 2012

Much has been said internationally of late about the far-right extremism and racism in Poland and Ukraine and the violence surrounding those limited numbers who hold such an ideology and allow it to manifest in physical assaults, affray and violent disorder.

Of course such things cannot and should not be ignored, although they are, historically, seemingly the preserve of the domestic Ukrainian football league and have not reared up in international or European club football events thus far in Ukraine when foreign teams have visited.  Let us hope that remain the case.

Amongst the first detainees by police in Poland?  Ukrainians – but not of the far-right kind!

However, despite the headlines selling copy for domestic media, Poland and Ukraine are a long way from being the only nations with far-right issues.  In fact, The World Value Survey shows only 12% of Ukrainians would not want foreigners as their next door neighbour.  Far less than many European nations, France for example 26% would object to a foreigner living next door.  (Such surveys of course do not provide gripping headlines or sell copy for the media.)

Here is an excellent piece from Dr Matthew Goodwin (I can’t say it’s bad, it’s from Chatham House of which I am a Member) who has made a very good academic career from studying and writing about European far-right politics and groups.

As yet, the far-right Svoboda Party in Ukraine has not broken out of regional politics in the Lviv region and entered the RADA.  That is far from the case for many nations in Europe as Dr Goodwin illustrates.

Who then, has the bigger problem with the far-right?

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