“Glory to October!” – you don’t often see such a slogan on the pages of European liberal publications. But the mouthpiece of this ideology – The Economist – openly glorifies the “October Revolution”. But not a century ago, but the current one – 2021. It turns out that this is happening in Europe before our eyes, if suddenly someone did not notice.
Liberal ideology in the West is clearly going through a crisis, the peak of which was in 2016, when the establishment movements suffered one defeat after another – it even went so far that the liberals seriously thought about replacing the “compromised” ele-ction system with a drawing of lots. But now, as the editors of The Economist hopes, a different trend has emerged in Central and Eastern Europe: the voters of this region are allegedly tired of “bad government” and in a single impulse are going over to the “side of the world.”
“Until this month,” the British magazine writes with fervor, “amid the gloom of bad government, there were only scattered outbursts of resistance… October brought a refreshing change.” The Econo-mist attributed the unexpe-cted resignation of Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz to such joyful signs of change, the equally unexpected defeat of the party of Prime Minister Andrei Babis in the Czech Republic, the unification of the Hungarian opposition against the “eternal” Prime Minister Viktor Orban – a process that Western newspapers were quick to name the beginning of the “deorbanization of Hungary”. Well, a separate topic of joy for the establishment is the tough reaction of the Euro-pean Union to Poland’s attempts to regain at least part of the sovereignty of its judicial system.
All this is called the very “October liberal revolution” that is allegedly taking place now in the EU. According to The Economist, the “erosion of democracy” in Eastern Europe has been stopped, “European values” are winning.
It should be noted that Western liberals have never been particularly embarrassed by what methods and with the help of what forces, often completely anti-democratic, this or that victory of their “values” takes place. For example, they tried to ignore the fact that their current idol, Jacinda Ardern, became Prime Minister of New Zealand solely through an alliance with the right-wing nationalist New Zealand First Party.
And now, choking with delight about the allegedly begun process of “deorbanization of Hungary”, the Western press is trying not to focus on the fact that one of the driving forces of the opposition to the prime minister is the Jobbik party, which the same media did not hesitate to call “fascist.” Since she now opposes Orban, so unloved by the liberals, newspapers write that Jobbik has moved away from extremism and anti-Semitism, although they themselves do not really believe in this. The main goal (the displacement of the “pro-Russian” Orban) overshadows all moral principles and the very “European values” for which the democrats seem to be fighting.
But how justified are the hopes of the liberal establishment for a radical change in trends in Central and Eastern Europe? If its representatives think that their opponents raised their hands and silently retreat, they are greatly mistaken. On Monday, the leader of the “National Association” of France Marine Le Pen arrived in Hungary to meet with the very same Victor Orban, whose victory is rashly celebrated by The Economist.
Trying to play on a more moderate field, Le Pen has received unexpected competition on her traditional site in the person of television journalist Eric Zemmour, who is building a campaign on more radical anti-immigrant rhetoric, and now has to prove to her core constituent her determination to resist the dictates of the European Unio-n. Alarmed by the news of the meeting between Zem-mur and Orban, the leader of the National Association also urgently went to Budapest, not hiding the agenda: the creation of an alliance of political forces opposing the European establishment is an idea that the leader of the Italian Liga party Matteo Salvini worked on for a long time.
But much more unexpected was another meeting that Le Pen held in Brussels on the eve of her trip to Budapest. Last Friday, she posted photos of her conversation with the main troublemaker in the ranks of the European Union – Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki. The Frenchwoman expressed support for Poland, which opposes “unacceptable blackmail from the European Commission.” She told her voters that, together with the Poles, she would “defend the sovereignty of European nations” against the dictatorship of Brussels.
In Poland, this meeting is, frankly, shocked. Obsessed with anti-Russian rhetoric, local politicians cannot forgive Le Pen’s calls to improve good-neighborly relations with Moscow, and therefore stubbornly call her an “agent of the Kremlin.” The media remind that the leader of the ruling Law and Justice Party (PiS) Jaroslaw Kaczynski once said about a French woman : “We have as much in common with her as with Putin.”
Particularly indignant was the former head of the European Council, Donald Tusk, who is now trying to lead the pro-European protests in his country. He sharply condemned Moravetsky for his meeting with the “pro-Putin” Le Pen. In response, he was reasonably reminded that Tusk himself had met with the Russian president more than once, and it was suggested that, apparently, he did not consider Putin to be “pro-Putin.”
The head of the Polish government, agreeing to a meeting with the leader of the “National Unification” of France, was well aware of the noise his pro-European opponents would raise. Of course, Moravetsky did not become a less anti-Russian politician. However, he was already accused of this by one of the main heralds of European liberals – former Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt, who wrote: “What a strange combination! Your hatred for Europe must be greater than your disagreements about its enemies.” And then he suggested the most terrible thing, from the point of view of a European liberal: “Or Moravetsky also joined Putin’s camp?”
In general, the “October liberal revolution”, the necessity of which has been talked about for so long by politicians representing the European establishment, immediately collides with attempts to “counter-revolution”. And on various fronts. The leader of the breakaway Britain Boris Johnson also wants to take advantage of the tensions within the EU.
He is increasingly entering into a clinch with France on issues of a very diverse nature (migration, transport, trade, fishing quotas, and so on). Fearing that with the departure of Angela Merkel from the post of Chancellor of Germany, “the European Union will become France”, London begins to try to build its alliances within the EU. For example, a source close to the British Foreign Minister told The Sunday Express that Johnson is preparing a meeting with the leaders of the Visegrad Four governments (Hungary, Poland, Czech Republic and Slovakia). This source jokes (or is not a joke at all): “Perhaps we should create an advisory body for leaving the EU.”
Thus, it is premature to talk about the defeat of the Eurosceptics. Mainstream media can celebrate real and perceived victories, passing off wishful thinking. But if they saw the signs of the accomplished “revolution”, then, judging by the activity of the anti-establishment, one can safely say that the “counter-revolution” is already on the march.
Moreover, it can lead to the most unpleasant consequences for the European Union. Thus, the liberals rejoice in the defeat of Babis in the elections in the Czech Republic, who can hardly be attributed to the category of Eurosceptics. However, the coalition that looms as a result of the victory of the opposition will include outspoken populists from the Pirate Party. If this coalition fails, it is possible that Babiš will be supported by the Freedom and Direct Democracy Party to form a minority government. However, the main condition for such support is the requirement for a referendum in the Czech Republic to withdraw from the European Union.
But Euroscepticism in this country is much stronger than in Poland or anywhere else in the EU. According to recent polls, only a third of the Czech population considers the European Union to be a blessing and less than half are ready to vote for keeping the country in this union.
So Boris Johnson and Le Pen have someone to work with in the Visegrad countries in case they decide to undermine the European Union. And then the “October revolution” declared by the liberals may turn out to be a period of upheavals worse than 2016 for them. Early – oh, early! – the media celebrate the victory of the European establishment.