Germany’s far-right AfD leader has defended the party’s stance against Russia


The leader of the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party defended his party’s actions in Russia in an interview with dpa over the weekend, rejecting claims that AfD politics are too close to the Kremlin.

“It is important for me that the right view of things should not be disturbed by the closeness of the Russian President Vladimir Putin“Alice Weidel told dpa.

Weidel, however, argued that the German government should show “steadiness” in its relations with Russia and Ukraine.

Russia launched a bloody invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, and the German government has been providing arms and other aid to the Ukrainian side.

“The glorification of one faction fighting the demons of the other is not going to bring us a solution,” Weidel said.

An AfD politician in the state parliament of Saxony-Anhalt, Hans-Thomas Tillschneider, drew criticism a few days ago after thanking Putin for his election. Tillschneider praised Putin for “ensuring stability and prosperity in Russia” in recent years.

Weidel’s AfD chairman, Tino Chrupalla, attended a party at the Russian embassy last May despite Russia’s war against Ukraine.

When asked if he was happy that the opposition in Germany was not treated in the same way as in Russia, Weidel replied: “I don’t want to judge this because it is a domestic matter.”

But he complained about his party’s treatment in Germany, including the removal of AfD lawmakers from the parliamentary committees that oversee Germany’s intelligence services.

Germany’s intelligence agency BfV is investigating the AfD as a suspected extremist group.

Many Russian dissident politicians and Kremlin critics have been arrested, exiled or threatened with harsh punishments for opposing the government. Putin faced no real challengers in his re-election bid.

Weidel acknowledged that differing views on Russia could make it difficult for far-right parties to form a coalition in the European Parliament after elections in June.

The AfD is currently a member of the Identity and Democracy Group (ID), which also includes Italy’s far-right Lega and France’s far-right Rassemblement National party of Marine Le Pen.

In addition to the ID Group, other right-wing parties are organized into the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR), which includes the Polish Law and Justice (PiS) party and Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni’s Fratelli d’Italia.

Both PiS and Fratelli d’Italia have been staunch supporters of Ukraine and NATO allies.

In February, Weidel traveled to Paris to meet Le Pen, the former French president, in an effort to repair the AfD’s damaged relationship with the French far-right.

Weidel acknowledged Le Pen’s involvement in a series of talks last fall between AfD officials and right-wing extremists at a building outside Berlin, where attendees discussed ways to force migrants to leave the country.

Weidel also said that the French politician was not happy with the main leader of the AfD in the European Parliament elections, Maximilian Krah.

In the past, Le Pen’s party was upset because it hired someone who had been fired from the Rassemblement National. He was also criticized for not publicly supporting Le Pen in the French presidential election, but far-right Éric Zemmour.

“This was also a problem, we discussed it and then we discussed everything else with Mr. Krah,” Weidel told dpa.

Alternative for Germany (AfD) leader Alice Weidel speaks in her office in the German Bundestag.  The leader of the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party defended his party's actions in Russia in an interview with dpa over the weekend, rejecting claims that AfD politics are too close to the Kremlin.  Michael Kapperer/dpa



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