Nigel Farage’s Russian Affiliation: A Critical Examination

Nigel Paul Farage is a UK broadcaster and former politician. He was the Leader of the UK Independence Party. Farage is presently the Honorary President of Reform UK and a presenter for GB News. He acted as a Member of the European Parliament until the UK’s exit from the EU in 2020. Farage stated on 24 February 2022 that the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine was “A consequence of EU and NATO expansion, which came to a head in 2014. It made no sense to poke the Russian bear with a stick. These are dark days for Europe.”

In 2017, Farage was registered as a person of interest by the FBI in their probe into possible Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election because of his links to Trump, WikiLeaks and Julian Assange. One source stated that “if you triangulate Russia, WikiLeaks, Assange and Trump associates the individual who comes up with the most hits is Nigel Farage.

In 2022, Chris Bryant, Labour MP for Rhondda, informed MPs that Nigel Farage accepted £548,573 in 2018 from Russian state broadcaster Russia Today and indicated the former Brexit Party leader should be sanctioned. Bryant has frequently called on high-profile individuals with links to the Russian state to face sanctions.

He was asked in 2014 which leaders he respected, Farage stated, “As an operator, but not as a human being, I would name Putin. The way he recreated the whole Syria thing. Brilliant. Not that I approve of him politically. How many journalists are in jail now?” 

In 2014, Nigel Farage’s regular appearances on Russia Today, a state-owned news outlet, sparked controversy due to his expressed admiration for Vladimir Putin. Throughout his 17 appearances since December 2010, Farage consistently criticized European governance, alleging it was controlled by individuals he deemed the worst since 1945. 

His frequency on the channel earned him recognition as a notable British guest by Russia Today. Notably, Farage refrained from criticizing Russian democracy in any of his interviews. His stance on British intervention in Libya and Syria aired on Russia Today, showcased his skepticism towards UN votes and his doubts regarding Bashar al-Assad’s chemical weapon use. 

Farage’s comments on Ukraine stirred further scrutiny, as he suggested Russia was provoked and accused the EU of instigating conflict. Critics like Chris Bryant likened Farage’s alignment with Putin to aligning with a dictator. Despite disclaimers of personal admiration, Farage’s critique of the EU’s foreign policy resonated with Russian interests. His views echoed those of some Tory Eurosceptic MPs who saw the EU’s stance in Ukraine as provocative towards Russia.

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