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Louis Wierenga

Louis Wierenga received his Master’s degree from the University of Toronto. He is currently a PhD Candidate at the Johan Skytte Institute of Political Studies, University of Tartu. His research interests include Euroscepticism, far right and nationalist political parties, Baltic politics, East Central European politics, transnational nationalist networks, information warfare. His doctoral thesis focuses on gender narratives and the far right in the Central East Europe.

Russians, Refugees and Europeans: What Shapes the Ideology of the Conservative People’s Party of Estonia?

As populist radical right (PRR) parties further solidify their presence in Europe, new forms of nationalism are being infused into the agenda and discourse of this party family. With the increasing visibility of Europe’s version of the alt-right, the identitarian movement, boundaries between party membership and support are becoming increasingly fluid. A number of Central and Eastern European nationalists affiliated with both PRR parties and the identitarian movement have created an emerging nationalist movement known as, ‘the New Nationalism’. This movement combines the geopolitical strategy of ‘Intermarium’, a nationalist block which seeks to unite Central and Eastern Europe ‘from the Baltic to the Black Sea’, serving as a political alternative to both Brussels and Moscow with ‘ethnofuturism’ as the driving ideological principle.

Rising dissatisfaction with the European project combined with a xenophobic backlash to the refugee crisis has provided new discursive opportunities to the PRR. At the same time, uniting nationalists from Central and Eastern Europe proves to be a difficult task. In an attempt to achieve the goal of uniting Eastern European nationalists, ethnic nationalism, a shared historical experience and common ancestry are highlighted as the most important components of the New Nationalism. Thus far, the New Nationalism has been successful and, as recently as February 2017, a large nationalist parade and conference took place Estonia.

Using qualitative methodology in the form of interviews with party members and activists in the New Nationalism, this paper seeks to contribute to the study of nationalism and the PRR by shedding light on this new phenomenon and providing an understanding of specifically how the actors in this group plan on achieving their goals. This research also seeks to shed new light and an academic analysis on the New Nationalism project and the degree of participation between identitarian actors and PRR parties.