The Querfront - or red-brown coalition - dates back to the early 1930s in Germany when the German communist KPD colluded with far-right forces to destroy the Weimar Republic. Today the Querfront has been revived by the Die LINKE - the Left Party as successor to the East German Stalinist SED party - which overlaps with neo-Nazis and the growing right-wing populist AfD ("Alternative for Germany") party in its hatred for the liberal democratic order of the Federal Republic. The two factions - extreme left and extreme right - are united in their rejection of the European Union, of NATO, of the United States and Israel, and in their contempt for the mainstream media (Lügenpresse). At the same time, both factions embrace Russia - especially Putin's authoritarian order.
The political scientist and journalist Kyrylo Tkachenko writes about the enthusiasm of the German left and right for Putin's annexation of Crimea and the Russian incursion into eastern Ukraine:
In the case of Ukraine, the degree of coordination and mingling reached a remarkable level. Those people who figured as ‘international election observers’ during the illegitimate referendum after the annexation of Crimea were for the most part representatives of European far-left and far-right parties (of course they didn’t find anything negative to report).24The biggest faction among pro-Russian so-called ‘peace demonstrations’ in Germany have been Die Linke voters, the second largest being the voters of right-populists Alternative für Deutschland (AfD).25It is noteworthy that the demonstrations themselves have been organized by prominent anti-Semites, which apparently did not hinder even some high-ranking representatives of Die Linke from taking part in them. 26It is not only that one can replace whole paragraphs devoted to Ukraine from far-right newspapers and magazines with those from their leftist counterparts without the readers even noticing the swap: in some cases even the contributors appear to be the same people (like Mark Bartalamai, who simultaneously produces videos and texts about Ukraine for the far-left newspaper Junge Welt and for the rightwing populist magazine Compact).27
This enthusiasm for Russian aggression has then also led to strong support for Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, who, with Russian military support, has slaughtered hundreds of thousands of his own citizens.
The relativization or/and outright praising of the Russian military intervention in Syria is just a logical counterpart of the leftist outrage about the alleged western ‘intrusion’. Whereas some prominent leftist politicians claimed that there is no evidence that Russian bombs target civilians or expressed doubts as to whether Assad’s forces ever used chemical weapons, some popular leftist newspapers have cheerfully labelled the capture of Aleppo as a ‘liberation’. 31The degree of overlap with interpretations predominant on the far Right goes so far that in Europe we have already witnessed pro-Assad demonstrations during which some demonstrators raise their fists (as a communist greeting) while others proudly show a Nazi salute.32
Eastern Germany was always a bastion of strength for the Left Party. But over the past few elections, many Left Party supporters have shifted their allegiances to the far right AfD. In response, the Left Party has increasingly adopted right-wing policies - such as supporting deportation of refugees. It remains to be seen whether the Querfront will continue to be a force in Germany.