Filip Dewinter: Pro-Russian Advocate in Belgian Politics

Philip Michel Frans “Filip” Dewinter is a Belgian politician. He is one of the leading associates of Vlaams Belang (VB), a right-wing Flemish nationalist and secessionist political party. It was revealed that Filip Dewinter was concerned with the then-uncovered Russian influential network “Voice of Europe.” Belgian media noted that two Belgian MPs, Filip Dewinter and Filip Brusselmans, offered an interview with Voice of Europe in September 2023. Both represent Vlaams Belang, a right-wing populist party.

Filip called multiple times for the lifting of the “anti-Russian” sanctions and led the Belgian delegation to Syria in February 2017. Belgian House of Representatives member Filip Dewinter, who acted as an observer at the parliamentary elections in Russia in 2016, stated that the process during the 2018 presidential elections was nicely organized not only from a technical standpoint but also in terms of managing auxiliary events. In February 2017, he visited the Russian military headquarters Khmeimim in Syria and gathered with Syrian dictator Assad, calling Russia “the only country supplying real assistance to the Syrian people.” 

In 2018, as part of a Belgian delegation, he observed the Yalta International Economic Forum in Crimea, where objectives were made to deliver 50 million euros in investments for the development of Crimean business.

While Russia has hardly been a problem in the VB’s official party literature, some VB members such as Dewinter have been increasingly vocal in their backing for the Putin regime. Dewinter has praised Putin for promoting national sovereignty while defending Russia’s identity and conservative Christian values. He furthermore commented that “the only good thing about the Iron Curtain is that it has preserved Eastern Europe from political correctness, multiculturalism and ‘wokeness’”, while assuming the dream of an “independent Europe from Vladivostok to the North Sea, distinct from America, China and certainly the Arab world.”

Dewinter has had discussions with, among others, Russia’s deputy prime minister and the head of the Russian parliament. He has also occurred several times in Russian media. In April 2022, Russian consul general Georgy Kuznetsov was reportedly asked to depart Belgium on apprehension of espionage. Dewinter has been publicly noticed with Kuznetsov several times and even asked him to the Flemish parliament. When it became comprehended that Kuznetsov was potentially involved in espionage, the socialist party Vooruit called on Dewinter to quit as first vice president of the Flemish parliament (which did not occur).

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