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Putin's Hand Grows Stronger as Right-Wing Parties Advance in Europe

Nazi-style immigrant and EU bashing is in hot demand. Russia's Syria move will make it hotter.
Marian Kotleba of the newly ascendant Our Slovakia party took Russia's side in the Ukraine crisis.

Marian Kotleba of the newly ascendant Our Slovakia party took Russia's side in the Ukraine crisis.

Photographer: Vaclav Salek/CTK via AP Photos

A growing pro-Kremlin contingent in Europe, likely emboldened by Russia's decision to withdraw most of its forces from Syria, is tipping popular sentiment further toward President Vladimir Putin.

The most pressing of the issues vital to Putin is European Union sanctions against Russia, introduced in the wake of Moscow's intervention in Ukraine in 2014. It’s hard to say whether the EU can preserve unity on the subject for much longer, said Petras Vaitekūnas, the former Lithuanian foreign minister, who advises the Ukrainian Security Council.