Havlík, Vlastimil & Kluknavská, Alena. (2023). “Our people first (again)! The impact of the Russia-Ukraine War on the populist Radical Right in the Czech Republic.” In: The Impacts of the Russian Invasion of Ukraine on Right-wing Populism in Europe. (eds). Gilles Ivaldi and Emilia Zankina. European Center for Populism Studies (ECPS). March 8, 2023. Brussels. https://doi.org/10.55271/rp0015
The report examines the impact of the war on the Czech populist Radical Right Freedom and Democracy Party (SDP) and its reaction to the war. Among the countries of the European Union (EU), the Czech Republic has become one of the most outspoken supporters of Ukraine, creating specific discursive opportunities for populist Radical Rightactors. The paper investigates the supply and demand side of populist Radical Rightpolitics, focusing on how the party positioned itself to attract support facing the challenge of reading and accommodating new public sentiments. We use qualitative analysis of the social media posts of the party leader Tomio Okamura to show that after the initial hesitant rejection of the Russian invasion, the party (re-)turned to pro-Russian narratives, incorporating the war into its populist nativist discourse and driving the ideas of welfare chauvinism and economic protectionism. Using data from the representative public opinion surveys, we show that the party supporters criticize economic support for Ukraine and the refugees and have the most positive attitudes towards Russia compared to the rest of the electorate. We discuss the potential long-term consequences on the position of the Czech populist Radical Right stressing the economic difficulties and war-related grievances.