As Western gov­ern­ments edge toward tougher sanc­tions on Russia, at least one group of Euro­pean politi­cians has come to Moscow’s defense: leaders of the region’s far-​​right parties.

Marine Le Pen, head of France’s National Front, vis­ited Moscow this month—her second trip there in less than a year—and lam­basted the West for declaring a ruinous new “Cold War” on Russia. Her party also sent elec­tion observers who val­i­dated the results of the ref­er­endum in which Russia annexed Crimea. Geert Wilders, who heads the far-​​right Dutch Freedom Party, has accused the Euro­pean Union of cre­ating “a big mess” in Ukraine. And Nigel Farage, head of Britain’s UK Inde­pen­dence Party said in an April 1 inter­view that Vladimir Putin was the world leader he admired most.

Such com­ments may seem bizarre, con­sid­ering that Putin has jus­ti­fied inter­ven­tion in Ukraine by saying he’s pro­tecting Russian speakers from right-​​wing ele­ments in the new government.

Read the article at Bloomberg Businessweek →