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Home Uncategorized The Patriot Game

The Patriot Game

John Paul Newman
The Far Right in the Balkans, by Věra Stojarová, Manchester University Press, 173 pp, £23.50, ISBN: Věra Stojarová’s essay on the far right in the Balkans is both of its time and timely. Originally published in 2014, a second edition followed three years later, while the work’s chronological focus is 2000-2010. So near and yet so far. Since that time the rules of the political game in the Balkans, in Western Europe, and indeed in the Western world have changed dramatically. The right does not seem so very far away any more: its policies ever more incorporated into the political mainstream, it is enjoying electoral successes in the USA, UK, Italy, Central Europe, and is increasingly confident in countries like France. So far and yet so near. Stojarová is an assistant professor in the faculty of political science at Masaryk University in Brno in the Czech Republic and is an accomplished and authoritative commentator on the Balkan region. In this book, she sets out to provide a taxonomy of the far right in the Balkans, seeking to provide a basic minimum of criteria through which we can define the core characteristics of those tendencies in the region. In so doing, she draws out possible comparisons with the more comprehensively studied far right in Western Europe. Again the task here is to establish a set of basic criteria through which we can link far-right movements in the West with those in the Balkans. The author’s examples are drawn from Croatia, Serbia, Macedonia, Albania, Bulgaria, and Romania. Bosnia and Kosovo are absent from the analysis (because “nation and state building have been delayed”. Moldova is out, too, as is Greece, on account of its “great cultural and political differences”, A footnote explains that Greece’s early European integration is the cause of this divergence, but nevertheless it feels like a lost opportunity to exclude Greece’s Neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party, so far the most successful far-right movement in the Balkans (although admittedly their breakthrough did not come until 2012, beyond the parameters of Stojarová’s study) The book describes in detail the nature of right-wing parties and groups in each of the selected country case studies, analysing the historical roots of each, their support or lack thereof (and the reasons for same), the core ideological programmes and their similarities from differences from far-right movements in the West, their voters, strategy and tactics, political evolution, international…

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