Why Eastern Germany Has Become Fertile Soil for the Far Right

A rally held by the Patriotic Europeans against the Islamization of the West (PEGIDA) political movement, Dresden, Germany, Dec. 22, 2014 (AP photo by Jens Meyer).
A rally held by the Patriotic Europeans against the Islamization of the West (PEGIDA) political movement, Dresden, Germany, Dec. 22, 2014 (AP photo by Jens Meyer).

Since the reunification of Germany in 1990, the government has kept yearly records of the state of national unity, issuing a report every September that takes stock of economic, social and institutional progress east of the Elbe River. In its 2016 report, the focus was more on socio-political, rather than economic, developments in the region. “We have achieved a lot in eastern Germany in the last 26 years,” said government spokesperson Iris Gleicke in Berlin last September as she presented the findings of the annual report. But, she added, “we are very concerned about the right-wing extremism, xenophobia and intolerance […]

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