Putin will love Europe’s ‘hot autumn’ of populist protests

By Andreas Kluth

12 Sep 2022 · 3 min read

Editor's Note

What do far-right and far-left in Europe have in common? An affinity for Putin that the Kremlin is certain to exploit in the difficult economic months ahead, argues a columnist for Bloomberg.

Having launched a war of aggression and failed to win it, Russian President Vladimir Putin has little to celebrate these days. What will cheer him is seeing lots of western Europeans take to the streets this fall. He'll use every prod and spur in his disinformation arsenal to goad the protesters into dividing their own societies - thereby weakening the international front against him.

This fall, civil unrest is likely to heat up in 101 countries (out of 198 monitored), according to an index developed by Verisk Maplecroft, a research firm. Hotspots range from Sri Lanka and Algeria to relatively well-off Europe. The main driver is of course inflation, especially the soaring costs of food and energy (caused in large part by Putin). But other factors come into play. The Czechs and Germans have provided early glimpses of a particularly disturbing pattern.

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