The project “Shady Horses” delves into investigating Russian propaganda dissemination within Western countries through prominent individuals, often referred to as “talking heads.”
By analyzing the influence and messaging of these figures, the project seeks to shed light on the tactics employed to spread Russian narratives, their impact on public opinion, and their potential connections to foreign organizations.
The victory of the Party for Freedom (PVV), led by Geert Wilders, in the Dutch parliamentary election is referred to by the world media as the “worst nightmare for the EU.” Wilders is known for his Euroscepticism and radical right-wing views. In particular, his arsenal includes anti-Islamic and anti-immigrant positions, as well as friendship with the controversial leader of Hungary, Viktor Orban (read about him here). In line with the leader’s radicalism, the PVV, founded by him in 2006, is a nationalist-populist party that has opposed ruling coalitions, led by the center-right People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy, since 2012.
Starting in 2014, Wilders expressed his views on Ukraine according to the Russian playbook: neutrality, fascism, and Russian minority. After the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 by Russia, the Dutch politician doubted the Russian involvement. During the 2016 referendum, the politician supported voting “against” the EU Association with Ukraine.
He visited Russia, where he advocated for friendly relations with it, and appeared on the main Kremlin propaganda channel, Russia Today.
Following Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, Wilders consistently advocates for limiting military aid to Ukraine and the number of refugees accepted, criticizes the opening of the EU market to Ukrainian farmers and opposes sanctions against Russia.
Who is this Shady Horse?
Geert Wilders, Dutch politician
Where are they from?
Leader of radical right Party for Freedom (PVV)
What have they been saying?
“Europe is responsible for a lot of the mess here,” Wilders said of Ukraine. “I would not have given them the carrot to give them the hope to wish for European membership. Everyone knows the country is divided”https://www.reuters.com/article/us-eu-election-dutch-wilders-idUSBREA3G1CS20140417/https://www.reuters.com/article/us-eu-election-dutch-wilders-idUSBREA3G1CS20140417/
“European politicians … went to speak to people in Kiev [Kyiv – corrected], half of whom were fascists standing there and saying: ‘We will help you, we will support you'”https://www.reuters.com/article/us-eu-election-dutch-wilders-idUSBREA3G1CS20140417/
“Make sure the Russian minority in eastern Ukraine is taken seriously without Russia interfering.”https://www.reuters.com/article/us-eu-election-dutch-wilders-idUSBREA3G1CS20140417/
Nice! Crimea is beautiful, I have been there many times from Simferopol to Sevastopol and Yalta. Russia will never give it back to Ukraine – rightly or not – deal with it. Sanctions against Russia over MH17 are justified, but stop whining about Crimea.https://x.com/geertwilderspvv/status/1209143314890608640?s=20
Stop the Russiaphobia. It’s time for Realpolitik. Partnership instead of enmity!https://x.com/geertwilderspvv/status/968447466474496001?s=20
Instead of criticizing, we should realize that Russia is our ally in the fight against terrorism and mass immigration from Africa. They have just as much to do with that as we do. I approach Russia seriously and amicably.https://www.nd.nl/nieuws/politiek/580031/wilders-herkent-in-putin-een-echte-patriot-
Rutte’s warfare will cost Dutch households and families a lot of money. With arms deliveries to Ukraine and sanctions against Russia, he is pushing us into a war that is not ours but will cost the Dutch a lot of money in unaffordable energy.https://x.com/geertwilderspvv/status/1496380486595268610?s=20
Of course, Ukraine should never become a member of NATO (and the EU). A buffer state between the West and Russia is 100% in our own national security interests.https://x.com/geertwilderspvv/status/1482684106509062146?s=20
Putin’s annexation of Ukrainian provinces is illegal. But Ukraine should NEVER become a member of NATO. Then we will be completely dragged into a war that is not ours. With disastrous consequences for our safety and energy prices. No way!https://x.com/geertwilderspvv/status/1575867269770448896?s=20