For The Diplomat, I tried to offer a comprehensive look at the myriad ties between Moscow and the American far-right groups - within the alt-right, most especially - undergirding the campaign of Donald Trump:
However, other leading members of the “alt-right” have already visited Russia, at the behest of organizations linked with the Kremlin. To wit, Jared Taylor, one of the foremost proponents of “race realism” in the United States and someone who has already recorded robocalls on behalf of Trump, arrived at a conference in St. Petersburg in 2015 to rail against American policy. Taylor was joined by Sam Dickson, another prominent face within the American’s white supremacist base, who praised Putin’s geopolitical policies. The conference, like the one recently postponed, was organized by RIM, which itself was an outgrowth of efforts from groups like Rodina, a Russian political party founded by Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin.
Meanwhile, David Duke, a former Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, and perhaps America’s most well-known white supremacist, has likewise visited Russia and has not been shy of his praise for Moscow’s policies under Putin. As the Anti-Defamation League found, Duke has noted that he believes that Russia holds “the key to white survival.” Added the ADL: “In Duke’s eyes, Russia presents an unmatched opportunity to help protect the longevity of the white race.” (Like Heimbach, Duke also has noted ties with Dugin.) For good measure, Richard Spencer, one of the foundational actors within the United States’s “alt-right” movement, recently and strangely lauded Russia as the “sole white power in the world.”
Also with The Diplomat, I checked in on Tony Blair's record in Kazakhstan, now coming to a close:
Five years on, it’s difficult to catalog all of the moments Blair whitewashed the Nazarbayev regime’s continued rule either via obfuscation or outright falsity. To wit, after coming aboard, Blair claimed Kazakhstan was the lone nation to give up nuclear weapons — blatantly ignoring moves to give up nuclear weaponry in both Ukraine and Belarus. In 2011, Blair also stated that Kazakhstan was “almost unique, I would say, in its cultural diversity and the way it brings different faiths together, and cultures together.” He further regurgitated Astana’s talking points in Wall Street Journal and Vanity Fair. And just last year — as Nazarbayev was busy taking 98 percent in the country’s latest (flawed) presidential election — Blair said that Kazakhstan’s leadership was “trying to do the right thing.”
But perhaps Blair’s most embarrassing — or shameful, depending on your perspective — moments came amidst the fallout from 2011’s Zhanaozen massacre, in which government forces killed more than a dozen unarmed protesters. Following the killings, Blair wrote a letter to Nazarbayev carrying advice as to how the Kazakhstani president should spin the slaughter. Instead of accepting responsibility, or pledging further reform, Blair proposed a different tack: convincing the West that the killings “should not obscure the enormous progress” Nazarbayev had apparently brought to Kazakhstan. Blair then included a further 500 words for Nazarbayev to use, becoming, in effect, a speechwriter — and cheerleader — for Nazarbayev. Earlier this year, it was further revealed that Blair had approved an additional letter that would have Astana claim the impossibility of bringing impartial, independent experts to Zhanaozen, and defending the Kazakhstani government’s investigation into the massacre.