Flirting with fascism

Trump’s choice for national security adviser, Michael Flynn, met with the head of an Austrian anti-immigrant party that was founded by Nazis.

The leader of the Austrian far-right Freedom Party has signed what he called a cooperation agreement with Russia’s ruling party and recently met with Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn, the designated national security adviser to President-elect Donald J. Trump of the United States.

Word of the agreement with Russia was the latest sign that the Kremlin is forging bonds with political parties across Europe in what some European leaders suspect is a coordinated attempt to meddle in their affairs and potentially weaken Western democracies. Many of these efforts are murky and involve obscure groups, and it is unclear whether President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia has any direct involvement.

The Freedom Party leader, Heinz-Christian Strache, reported the signing of the agreement with United Russia, Mr. Putin’s party, on Monday on his Facebook page, where he also disclosed that he had visited General Flynn a few weeks ago in Trump Tower in New York.

Well, Trump is anti-immigrant, and the “Freedom Party” is anti-immigrant, so there you go.

The Freedom Party, founded in the 1950s by ex-Nazis, surged this year to nearly capture the largely ceremonial presidency of Austria in May, but was defeated in a final runoff on Dec. 4. Still, its ascendance, alongside the rise of rightist parties in many European countries and with Mr. Trump’s victory, has raised new questions about political realignment across the continent.

World. Trump’s victory isn’t on the continent, it’s on this other one over here.

Aside from sowing domestic ferment in Austria, a Freedom Party-led government would press to lift the sanctions imposed on Moscow for its 2014 seizure of Crimea and meddling in war-torn eastern Ukraine. On Facebook, Mr. Strache said Monday that having the United States and Russia stand together would be important to solving the crises in Syria and Crimea and “to get rid of the sanctions that damage the economy and are in the end useless.”

Hey, maybe we could have a Tsar again.

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