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In Eastern Europe, Populism Lives, Widening a Split in the E.U.

Even though the numbers of migrants are very low in the eastern countries, all victorious candidates used strong anti-immigration rhetoric and tied it into fears of terrorism, Mr. Mares said, much as the far-right Alternative for Germany did.

Mr. Davies sees the common denominator “as mass resentments about one thing or another,” but those issues can vary country to country.

“A significant segment of the population in each of these countries feels that they have been robbed of something, been misled and cheated,” he said.

But while Americans may resent its loss of dominance and the rise of China, and Britain the end of the glory days of empire, he said, “the resentments in the former Soviet bloc are the missed opportunities of the freedom they received in 1989.”

No one regrets the disappearance of communism, Mr. Davies said, but “they do resent the way the new order was founded and where the benefits went, mostly to a narrow elite.”

They also believe, or are led to believe, Mr. Davies said, “that they are surrounded by enemies, either from without — usually Germany or Russia — or from within.”

But Mr. Davies is more sanguine than many. The sheer variety of the targets means that there is no united movement that will spread, he said.

“There is no single virus,” he said, “and I don’t think there is a lot of staying power.”

Source: NYT > World

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