How cooperation with China and Russia destroys political careers in Europe

Recent elections have renewed the composition of the European Parliament. In addition to the new faces, we can also note the termination of some prominent politicians’ powers.

The list includes Tatjana Ždanoka, Mick Wallace, and Clare Daly. There is at least one thing they have in common: they all support authoritarian China and Russia. It appears that this support cost them their parliamentary mandate.

Latvian politician Tatjana Ždanoka

A Latvian politician and MEP, Tatjana Ždanoka is best known for her history in the Communist Party of Latvia, for her pro-Russian politics in the country, and for her strong and constant support of Russia in the European Parliament. She started her political career in the late 1980s. At that time, she was one of the leaders of the Interfront (supporters of Latvia remaining part of the Soviet Union).

Between 1971 and 1991, she was also a member of the Communist Party of Latvia, later claiming that “she wasn’t part of the party hierarchy.” In 1999, Ždanoka was banned from being elected to the Latvian parliament, so her only option to influence politics was the European Parliament. She received her first MEP mandate in 2004 and has been elected many times since.

She advocates the so-called “Russkiy Mir,” a Russian neo-imperialistic concept of political and social relations. In 2014, Tatjana Ždanoka traveled to Crimea to act as an “international observer” on the so-called Russian-organized “Crimean referendum,” despite the fact that she didn’t have official authorization from the EU.

In 2020, she was included in the European Platform for Democratic Elections database as a “biased observer.” At the same time, she was also actively promoting the idea that the Russian minorities were being repressed in Donbas and also trying to make a connection between the oppressors and far-right politicians. In 2016, she paid a visit to Syria’s dictator, Bashar al-Assad.

Danoka’s voting pattern in the European Parliament has been consistent; out of the 22 votes, she voted 20 times against condemning Russia’s war aggression. Some of the cases include condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 and naming Russia a sponsor of terrorism.

The Latvian Human Rights Committee, a group Danoka is a member of, has received significant funding from a Russian organization called Fund for the Legal Protection and Support of Russian Federation Compatriots Living Abroad. According to the investigation by The Insider, a Russian investigative newspaper, she had for years been working on behalf of the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB).

In recent years, Danoka has been collaborating closely with two Irish MEPs, Mick Wallace and Clare Daly.

Irish politician Mick Wallace

Mick Wallace is an Irish politician and an MEP from South Ireland with a strong attitude toward China and Russia. His political career started at the 2011 general election in Ireland, and he was elected as an MEP in the 2019 European Parliament election.

Wallace falls into the general category of “anti-imperialists,”  basically meaning anti-US and NATO; he is also supporting Venezuela, China, Russia, Belarus, and Syria. In 2021, he visited the headquarters of the “Popular Mobilization Forces,” an Iraqi militia supported by Iran.

He also attempted to wipe out parts about Russian involvement in the shooting down of MH17, criticized the sanctions imposed on Russian individuals by the US and EU, voted against Ukraine aid packages and demands that Putin withdraw Russia’s troops from Ukraine. He also opposed the resolution to declare Russia a state sponsor of terrorism.

Mick Wallace is supporting not only Russia but also China. He has downplayed the Uyghur concentration camps and called the reports on them “grossly exaggerated.” In 2021, he stated that there was no solid evidence of the existence of these camps. He often gives interviews for Chinese state media and once said that Beijing “takes better care of its people” than the EU and “Taiwan is part of the CCP”.

In light of his weird relationship with authoritarian regimes, he faced financial issues. In 2012, reports emerged saying that his company had missed paying 2.1 million euros in taxes. Later on, he admitted to “fiddling” with his company’s VAT returns on purpose. After that, Wallace’s company declared bankruptcy in 2016 with debts over 30 million EUR.

Irish politician Clare Daly

Another Irish politician and MEP, Clare Daly, has a similar story.

In 2012, she was accused of misusing travel funds. After the 2019 elections to the European Parliament, Daly was accused of nepotism for hiring her former husband as her assistant, and in 2020, Daly’s parliamentary assistant accused her of mistreatment and having “no respect for workers’ rights.”.

Like her political ally and friend Wallace, Daly is also appeasing Russia and China and criticizing the US.

In 2013, she accused the Irish government of “prostituting” the country for the US and Obama. She also called Obama a hypocrite and a war criminal for wanting to supply weapons for the Syrian rebels. In 2021, Daly and Wallace traveled to work as unofficial election monitors in the Venezuelan parliamentary election and the Ecuadorian general election without a mandate or permission from the EU.

In January 2022, Clare Daly stated that the Russian troops on the Ukrainian border were “clearly defensive.” She also said that there is “no evidence that Russia has any desire to invade Ukraine.” Later, after the full-scale invasion of Ukraine, she voted against almost every pro-Ukraine initiative in the European Parliament.

Like Wallace, she is a frequent guest on Chinese state-sponsored TV, and she’s been featured in more Chinese-language news articles than any other Irish person. In these interviews, she often praises China and Chinese politics.

All three of them, Danoka, Wallace, and Daly, have all been fervent defenders of convicted Lithuanian spy Algirdas Paleckis, who was convicted of spying for Russia in 2021.

Now their political careers are most likely over, as they did not get into the new European Parliament. Their support for authoritarian regimes has made them too toxic, and European voters understand this very well.

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