In the wake of Joe Biden’s victory in the United States presidential elections, Europe’s far right did not waste much time taking President Donald Trump’s side.
“There is no question at all that these elections are rigged,” Mart Helme, of the far-right EKRE party and interior minister in Estonia’s coalition government, told a radio show on November 8, as he repeated the US president’s false claims of elections fraud.
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“[Trump] will win eventually,” Helme said. “It will happen as a result of an immense struggle, maybe even bloodshed, but justice will win in the end.”
Helme, who was forced to resign his cabinet post after his comments, was far from the only member of Europe’s far right to react to Trump’s defeat.
From east to west, both large and small movements, from greying self-described intellectuals to young neo-fascists, Europe’s far right has a lot to say about the US presidential election.
Like Helme, many have taken Trump’s side on his debunked election fraud claims.
But the most hardline hope that Biden’s victory brings about chaos, destabilisation and even civil conflict that, in their dreams, would advance their extreme aims.
Before and after Biden’s declaration on November 8 that he had won the vote, and the subsequent acceptance of his victory by almost the entire international community, Trump’s fans on Europe’s far right went online.
“Leftists are looking for an opportunity to add another 6,000,000 votes by mail,” wrote Belarusian-born, Ukraine-based Sergei Korotkikh of Ukraine’s Azov movement on his Telegram channel on November 4.
Korotkikh, who posted a photo of himself wearing a Trump T-shirt watching the televised debate between him and Biden in September, continues to make false claims of electoral fraud on his Russian-language Telegram channel with more than 25,000 followers.
In Hungary, the leader of Mi Hazánk (Our Homeland) party, Laszlo Toroczkai, took to Twitter in the wake of Biden’s declaration of victory to allege the results were so close that Facebook and Twitter could have decided the election. It was, he wrote, “completely unacceptable in a democracy”.
Thorsten Hindrichs, a German researcher of the far right and professor at the University of Mainz, told Al Jazeera he encountered similar themes on the German-language accounts and chats that he monitors.
“Trump is marked as a patriot in the broadest sense, but in the end, the presidency he has now been ‘cheated’ out of is just another proof of the unsuitability of democracy,” Hindrichs said.
But other far-right figures across the continent have accepted Biden’s victory, and worry about what they see as the negative repercussions of his win for both the US and Europe.
“If the American left gains the hegemony they so ardently desire,” said Croatian-American far-right intellectual Tomislav Sunic, “it will be the end not just of the people and culture of traditional America, but of the entire West.”
These types of messages do not surprise Cynthia Miller-Idriss, an expert of far-right ideology and a professor at the American University.
“I would expect the European far right to follow the same playbook” as their American counterparts, Miller-Idriss told Al Jazeera.
“Misinformation about the election, baseless claims about fraud and fomenting polarisation with claims about liberal plots and the need for violent rebellion against tyranny.”
The hardest elements of Europe’s far right openly hope for violence, chaos, destabilisation and even civil war in the wake of Biden’s victory.
In Serbia, an article on the website of neo-Nazi group Serbian Action claimed, “The only gain for Serbia, Europe and humanity, in connection with the [post] election situation in the USA would be the destabilisation and disintegration of this criminal-monster state, which is currently, unfortunately, unlikely.”
A senior member of the Nordic Resistance Movement (NRM), a neo-Nazi movement based in northern Europe, took to the group’s Swedish-language website to argue that Biden’s victory would be good for the far right.
Biden’s election provided “the greatest opportunity to create a future civil war in the United States in the long term”, which would “[create] the conditions for whites to become the dominant ethnicity in the United States again”, the NRM article reads.
Senior members of NRM have been involved in acts of violence against Muslim asylum seekers, LGBTQ people and others. The movement was banned in Finland by the country’s highest court earlier this year.
Others want post-election violence in the US streets.
In Ukraine, one of the founders of the Azov movement’s literature club took to Telegram to say that he hoped “decent people in the United States will react to [Biden’s victory] by taking up arms, teaming up in combat units and starting to shoot supporters of the Democrats and of leftist ideologies”.
Statements like these worry Matthew Feldman, an expert on fascist ideology and the international far right.
“The tendency of right-wing extremists to support the ‘acceleration’ of conflict leading to war has become alarming in recent years,” Feldman, a professorial fellow at the University of York, told Al Jazeera.
“Given the fringe position most radical right groups find themselves in, it seems clear that their avenue to prominence runs through increased political polarisation.”
“The radical right lives and breathes conflict,” said Feldman, “so it should come as no surprise to us that they are amplifying division in the US.”