Central European countries have also taken strong stands or direct actions against Russia. Greece expelled Russian diplomats in response to Russian interference in the naming of North Macedonia. In 2016, Montenegro arrested a range of violent coup plotters who were backed by Russia. This year, 14 of them were convicted and sentenced to prison.
These anti-populist trends have occurred in the face of heavy Russian interference in the form of cyber warfare and in some cases the direct intervention of Federal Security Service agents. Russia also interfered in the European Parliament elections in May, which polls and pundits had predicted would bring a populist takeover. However, not only did numerous populists — like Germany’s A.F.D. party — perform less well than expected, but they are also far from being able to form a majority.
Western Europe itself has not been entirely devoid of liberal results. In Denmark, a rare national victory went to the Social Democrats over right-leaning populists last month. Populists have also been kept out of recent governments formed in Finland, Sweden and Estonia. (The Estonian prime minister has since brought a minority populist party into his governing coalition, but opinion polls indicate that the experiment is not working out very well.)