University of Twente Student Theses


Putin-Versteher? An analysis of the policy narratives of German anti-establishment parties toward the Russian government

Bersenev, A. (2022) Putin-Versteher? An analysis of the policy narratives of German anti-establishment parties toward the Russian government.

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Abstract:The relationship between German anti-establishment parties and Russia is determined by evolving political and pragmatic considerations, involving, on the one hand, the desire to reshape the seemingly hostile national or international environment to suit one’s own interests and, on the other, the need to gain or restore dwindling or absent national or international legitimacy. While scholars have mainly concentrated on the relationship between far-right parties and Russia, they have largely neglected the connection between Russia and parties from the left spectrum. This paper argues that the close relationship to both political spectra can be explained by ideology and strategy. While far-right parties see Putin as the role model for a conservative leadership aiming to defend traditional values, far-left parties share the reluctance of the U.S. position on the international stage. Furthermore, the rapprochement with Russia is chosen by both parties as an “issue” to polarise compared to other German mainstream parties and thus attract more voters. Therefore, this investigation aims to question the extent to which the relationship with Putin’s Russia is ideological or merely a strategic calculation to increase the party’s own electorate while polarising using pro-Russian sentiments. With the help of a content analysis of the parliamentary speeches and debates as well as the election manifestos between 2013 and 2022, the developments of the Ukrainian crisis were used to find that only the AfD’s direct connection to Russia can be explained by its ideological conviction. Moreover, the AfD uses that as a strategy to stand away from the mainstream and address potential voters. Indeed, this approach is also used by another anti-establishment party, Die Linke, which has certain difficulties explaining its close ties to Russia based on its ideological affiliation and thus, sees a strategy to attract voters by formulating a solution for a rapprochement with Russia that essentially varies from those of the mainstream.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:02 science and culture in general
Programme:European Studies MSc (69303)
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