Right-Wing Extremism in Central – Eastern Europe
The Centre for European and North Atlantic Affairs has compiled a report on the threat of extremism in Central and Eastern Europe, looking at the cross-border co-operation between extremist groups and the threat it poses to Europe. Here TheDaily.SK provides you with the full report.
Trans-National Cooperation of Right-Wing Extremists in East-Central Europe
By Miroslav Mareš – with support of the Open Society Foundations
2. Assessment of the methodological concept of trans-national cooperation of right-wing extremists in East-Central Europe
3. History and tradition of trans-national cooperation of right-wing extremists in Central Europe before 1989
4. History and tradition of trans-national cooperation of right-wing extremists in Central Europe after 1989
5. Present-day cooperation of right-wing extremist political parties
6. Present-day cooperation of extremist movements in organizing rallies
7. Present-day cooperation of right-wing extremist on education and media
8. Present-day cooperation at the level of right-wing extremist sub-culture
9. Present-day cooperation of the militant right-wing extremist spectrum
10. Financial aspects of trans-national cooperation of right-wing extremists
In the present day East-Central Europe, intensive trans-national cooperation of right-wing extremist parties is taking place − with significant security consequences. This working paper aims to describe and compare the trends of new manifestations of right-wing extremism with trans-national reach – with focus on its hotbeds and vectors of dissemination. Another aim is to identify the main
contemporary forms trans-national relations of right-wing extremists take in the region and analyze the threats and risks associated with them. The text is based on professional literature and open sources from the extremist milieu, and draws on information from state bodies involved in the monitoring the extremist scene.
2. Assessment of the methodological concept of trans-national cooperation of right-wing
extremists in East-Central Europe
Here, the focus is on the region of East-Central Europe understood as comprising the so-called Visegrad group, namely the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, and Hungary. The trans-national forces at play cannot be looked at as isolated phenomena due to the interconnectedness of rightwing extremists with their counterparts in other countries and within the broader region, as well as with other partners on a pan-European, even global scale. Thus here we have to subject to analysis the extremist scenes in the Central European region (Austria, Germany, and Slovenia); South-Eastern Europe (Serbia, Croatia, Bulgaria, Romania); as well as Eastern Europe (Ukraine, Russia). For our
purposes, of importance are also relations with countries with history of extremism and an active right-wing scene, such as Italy. In addition, to assess wholly the new trans-national dimension of right-wing extremism in East-Central Europe, we have to consider the effects of job migration resulting in the influx of extremists from this region to Western Europe as well as the U.S. In this scenario, there is contact between extremist groups abroad, while at the same time the ties with the scene back at home are kept up. It is also important to focus on the role of right-wing extremist subjects grouped in European and global structures and organizations.
Right-wing extremists are full-fledged actors of trans-national relations, making them subject to the same criteria applicable to agents in international and trans-national area.
Given that the last right-wing/extremist regimes ceased to exist in 1945, the contemporary extremist scene in Central Europe is dominated by non-state actors. Nevertheless, state support of extremism can still come from state actors outside the region of Central Europe (e.g. secret services). What’s more, Right-wing extremists are employing a unified trans-national strategy to gain access to positions in state law enforcement and military structures.
Given their sheer numbers across a number of countries, right-wing extremists can enter into bilateral, or tri-lateral alliances (e.g. neo-Nazi concerts of Czech-Slovak unity), tri-lateral relations (e.g. unified declaration of national resistance groups from Austria, Germany, and Czech Republic held in 2007), and other formations or join various tri-lateral cooperation platforms (such as the European National Front). The cooperation can range in intensity, from single contact to repeated contacts, to stable cooperation. Trans-national cooperation can take the following forms:
1. Cooperation of national subjects without an overarching structure (e.g. participation of Serbian right-wing extremists in a rally in Poland in 2011);
2. Cooperation of national subjects under a common structure (Euronat);
3. Cooperation within the shared organization without national chapters (Czech-German circle of friends;
4. Cooperation within an organization comprised of national chapters (e.g. trans-national network Blood & Honour).
We can also consider trans-national inspiration and idea-sharing as a form of cooperation that precedes and has led to actual cooperation. A case in point is the sub culture from Western Europe that has served as a blueprint for establishing the first skinhead sub-cultures in East-Central Europe, which in turn has led to ad-hoc contacts at international events, as well as to establishing national chapters of trans-national skinhead organizations (e.g. chapters of Hammerskins Nation).
When it comes to activities of right-wing extremists, an international dimension of cooperation does not have to be limited to participation of individuals from other countries, but can take the form of thematic closeness ‒ e.g. dissemination of pamphlets by National Resistance in the Czech Republic in support of pan-European neo-Nazi cooperation, which encompasses the national and trans-national dimension.
Moreover, an activity held in one country can be used to support a cause in another, as was the case with the support of foreign activists jailed or prosecuted. Internet is a medium that lends itself well to trans-national cooperation – here right-wing extremists from one country can list cross-references to websites of their multi-lateral partner(s) and viceversa. Some sites serve to provide information about the events in other countries and provide a platform for expressing views. What’s more, there are also right-wing discussion fora and chats, as well as groups on social fora with participation of right-wing extremists from a range of countries. These outlets often give rise to trans-national virtual communities.
When researching trans-national contacts of right-wing extremists in East-Central Europe, we need to keep in mind that state borders often divide nations into minorities and majorities. The nationforming majority in one nation-state can be in a minority position in a neighboring state. Thus, crossborder cooperation often takes place between the extremist elements belonging to the same nation.
Here, however, it is often the case that the part of the right-wing extremist scene in the majority nation declares irredentist aims, which in terms creates a conflict with national extremists in that country. Within countries, we can also observe right-wing extremist tendencies by the separatist or autonomist groups (the case of right-wing extremist Moravians).
The conflicts between right-wing extremists from different countries can be also shaped by historical myths and collective memories (e.g. Serbian-Croatian historical gripes) or present day issues (e.g. the question of Ukrainian immigration to East-Central Europe, which creates tensions between the recipient nations and Ukrainian nationalist elements). In addition, the interaction of internal actors can play an important role, as was the case in 2011 when German neo-Nazis hampered the participation of Polish autonomous nationalists in a demonstration held in Brno.
Ideological background plays an important role in trans-national cooperation of right-wing extremists. It is a factor that splits the right-wing extremist scene already at the national level and determines the trans-national contacts. In the region of East-central Europe, we see a basic division of the extremist scene to neo-Nazis who look to the legacy of Nazism and collaboration from the first half of the 20th century, and those who reject and construct their identity on own national identity.
Nevertheless, the boundaries between these two streams are often blurred (as is the case with Slovakia). Moreover, within a nation, there can be several sub-streams that diverge in their view of historical, ideological or religious traditions. This is especially characteristic of the right-wing scene in the Czech Republic, where a split exists between the pro-Hussite extremists and conservative Catholic elements; or Polish scene that divides into neo-pagan and Catholic extremists.
Aside from ideology, the organizational form and strategies of right-wing extremist groups form an important element of trans-national cooperation. We can analyze the trans-national cooperation of right-wing extremist regimes (in East-Central Europe only possible since 1945), the activities of right-wing political parties, mass-events, educational activities, the musical sub-culture, and the militant spectrum (including terrorism).
3. History and tradition of trans-national cooperation of right-wing extremists in Central
Europe before 1989
When researching right-wing trans-national cooperation in the region of East-Central Europe, it is worthwhile to analyze the period since the rise of fascism and modern national socialism after World War I ‒ given that this period laid down the basic determinants for cooperation as well as conflicts between right-wing extremists brought on by the Versailles settlement.
Another significant historical factor influencing the extremist scene was the constellation of political forces in the aftermath of World War II; of some, albeit lesser importance was anti-communist cooperation after 1945.
Shortly after the end of WWI, a network of cooperation was established between German national socialists from the three countries in the newly-formed Versailles system – namely the Sudeten parts of Czechoslovakia, Austria, and Germany. On the basis of pan-German ideology, they planned a greater Germany to comprise the three territories. The dominant position was taken by the movement in Germany under the leadership of Adolf Hitler.
A Czech national of German descent, Rudolf Jung was attempting to profile himself as a pioneer and ideological thinker behind national
socialism (he later worked in the state apparatus of Nazi Germany).
Right after WWI, several territorial conflicts flamed up in the region of East-Central Europe (e.g. between Czechoslovak military and the militaries of German provinces on the border that have declared independence; between Poland and Czechoslovakia concerning Tesin region; between Poland and Germany over Silesia; between Czechoslovak and Hungarian militaries over Slovakia, and so on). These conflicts on the whole cannot be classified under the heading of right-wing extremism (especially given that the governments of the above-mentioned German provinces were socialdemocratic; the conflict over Slovakia was pursued even during the communist Hungarian and
Slovak republics). Nevertheless, these conflicts have inflamed nationalist tendencies which were exploited by the fascist movements.
Fascism as a movement was imported to the region of East-Central Europe, where it has inspired the local radical nationalists. This only happened after fascism experienced successes in the country of origin ‒ Italy ‒ namely after the march on Rome in 1922. Fascist groups and organizations started to get established in the region without direct contacts with the home country ‒ this happened only gradually in the second half of 1920s.
The fascist regime in Italy under Benito Mussolini has maintained friendly relations with the authoritarian regime in Hungary under Miklos Horthy. Based on the initiative of Czech fascists, contacts were also established between the National Fascist Community and the Fascist Party of Italy, as well as with Polish backers of Pilsudski’s regime.
In Poland, a specific type of extreme nationalism was taking root under the leadership of Dmowski – Endecja (in opposition to the
then authoritative regime of Marshall Pilsudski).
In Slovakia, fascism served as an inspiration for an autonomist movement around the Slovak National Party. This party has even formed a paramilitary organization “Domobrana” [self-defense], inspired by the Italian squadras.
Czech fascists diverged on the question of Slovak autonomy, but on the whole partially supporting it. Slovak clero-fascist regime was also positively received by like-minded fascists in the neighboring Moravian region who have already in the mid-1920s established friendly relations with Domobrana.
This cooperation has then laid the foundation for subsequent contacts with the Polish Catholic-oriented right wing scene.
In Czechoslovakia, the Czech fascists viewed German nationalism with skepticism (including German national socialism), and thus the visit of emissary of Czech NOF to NSDAP in 1927 with a request for cooperation and financial support came as a paradox. This was rejected by the German Nazis.
Only in the 1930s is there a shift on part of the Czech fascists on the establishment of Aryan front uniting Czech, Slovak, Hungarian and Ukrainian fascists on the territory of Czechoslovakia, even if transient in nature.
An activity with international dimension that took place on the territory of the inter-war Czechoslovakia involved the Russian white emigration organization, part of which was fascist in orientation. During the Russian civil war, the leader of the Czechoslovak National Community, Radola Gajda was involved in anti-Bolshevik activities (served as a general of Czechoslovak legion, later suspended in Czechoslovakia after a conflict with President Masaryk). Allegedly he was involved in the anti-Bolshevik coup in Russia, possible through the right-wing extremist circles in Prague. The coup, however, never took place.
Throughout the 1920s and 1930s, the German NSDAP kept up relations with ideologically close subjects active among the German minority in the Czech lands or Carpathian German Party in Slovakia, namely the German National Socialist Workers’ Party (DNSAP), and later the Sudeten German Party (SdP).
During the inter-war period, there were virtually no relations kept up between right-wing extremists in the Slavic lands (with the exception of the Romanian Iron Guard).
Italian and French fascists were in the mid-1930s attempting to take international fascist cooperation to the higher level, organizing a conference in Montreaux, during which even a permanent committee was formed. However, there was no participation in the conference or the committee by German Nazis.
A specific example of fascist cooperation in the second half of 1930s came in the form of the network supporting Franko’s uprising in the Spanish civil war. The involvement of East-Central Europe, however, was not particularly strong.
World War II presently serves as an important source of legacy and tradition for cooperation between neo-Nazi organizations. This involves glorification of countries and groups that fought on the side of the axis or as allies of Nazi Germany. Of special importance is the participation of foreign volunteers in Schutzstaffeln (SS), in its foreign divisions. Smaller units of this organization are glorified by the contemporary neo-Nazi elite and seen as a source of inspiration for cooperation.
In this regard, Poland of all the East-Central European countries has the weakest tradition, given that collaboration with the Nazi regime was rather weak. The contemporary Polish neo-Nazis do not look up to collaboration, and rather see themselves more closely affiliated with the white power movement and the legacy of radical nationalism of the early 1930s. As a rallying cry they tend to use anti-Semitism, which was also prevalent in Poland during World War II.
On the other end of the spectrum is Hungary, with a rich tradition of collaboration with Nazi Germany. Horthy’s regime has sent its units to the anti-Soviet front and after the power was taken by the Arrow Cross Party, anti-Semitic repression took hold. What’s more, a Hungarian division of SS was formed. The fighting of German and Hungarian troops against the Red Army for Budapest, which resulted in the defeat of the Nazis in February 1945 is to this day regarded as an important source of tradition.
In March 1939 with the occupation of Czech lands, Slovakia gained independence and the same year was involved militarily in the attack on Poland, and later in 1941 against the Soviet Union. The joint Slovak- Hungarian participation in the German offensives is often used by both Slovak and Hungarian neo-Nazis as an argument for overcoming divisions. Slovakia did not establish its own SS division; however, the members of Hlinka’s Guards, the regime’s paramilitary arm, were involved in the activities of special anti-partisan units like Josef, Edelweiss and others.
A portion of Czech fascists have changed their identity after the annexation for a Nazi one and strove to intensity cooperation with Nazi Germany. There were even several pleas for involvement of Czech military units in the offensive against the Soviet Union, but Hitler refused. Only in 1945 a small volunteer platoon dubbed Saint Wenceslas was formed, which however, did not see any action. It was formally subjugated under SS, but its members wore the uniforms of Czech Government Units.
Czech Autonomous Nationalists used this right-wing heritage to stage a rally in 2010 in a place where the platoon used to train.
After WWII, a portion of collaborators from the Czech lands was attempting to initiate a broader cooperation in the region from their emigration in Western Europe. The same was attempted by Slovak clero-fascists or Ukrainian nationalists, albeit without any significant results. These attempts also experienced some trouble, e.g. diverging views of Polish and Ukrainian émigrés concerning the new borders. Hungarian emigration circles continuing in the tradition of Arrow Crosses were involved in the establishment of the European Social Movement initiated by Italian neo-fascists.
Nevertheless, also this organization soon ceased to exist. The trans-national dimension of cooperation between right-wing extremists was limited to ad-hoc contacts between skinheads at the end of the eighties.
4. History and tradition of trans-national cooperation of right-wing extremists in Central
Europe after 1989
The fall of communism allowed for a greater freedom and development of the right-wing extremist cause in East-Central Europe. Gradually in all countries of the region, extremist parties were elected to parliament and manifestations of “intellectual anti-Semitism” appeared, voiced by formal and informal groups; and a sub-culture of racist skinheads evolved, which led to an increase in hate
crimes (albeit not exclusively due to skinheads activities).
In the 1990s skinheads kept up the most intensive contacts compared to other extremist actors, even though we have to keep in mind that the movement is especially appealing for the youth sub-culture and encompasses e.g. concerts of musical groups or individual visits of activists for the purposes of exchanging know-how and propaganda materials and other activities. The contacts were mostly limited to visits and exchanges within the region, with some contacts with German-speaking countries, United Kingdom, and the US. Gradually, contacts were also established between the Central European and Balkan right-wing extremist scene.
As a result of the loosened atmosphere, there was a boom in various distribution centers selling tapes, CDs, fanzines, badges, and clothing catering to the racist stream of the skinhead sub-culture. The owners of these distributions have cooperated with their Western counterparts when it comes to supplies of merchandise and cross-referenced each other in pamphlets, which in effect led to an informal cross-border network.
On the basis of this cooperation, branches of trans-national skinhead/neo-Nazi networks in EastCentral Europe were established. This was achieved thanks to contacts with Western Europe and the US, due to the fact that these organizations had to approve the establishment of branches of Hammerskins and Blood & Honour in Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland and Hungary. Under the auspices of these organizations, a number of concerts were later held.
In this context, it is important to mention that in the 1990s, East-Central Europe was perceived as a region where it was easier to openly show views and use Nazi symbolism, compared to some Western European countries (Germany, Austria, and partially Great Britain). This made the region ideal for staging big concerts, and to an extent for manufacture of CDs and other promotional materials. Gradually, however, in light of the stepped-up activity of law enforcement against extremism, East-Central Europe lost its appeal as a safe haven to stage extremist activities (with the exception of Hungary).
The skinhead sub-culture gradually gave rise to organizations declaring more pronounced political ambitions, including organizing rallies and educational activities. These were also striving for broadening the extremist worldview in the region, which served as the basis for trans-national cooperation. From the mid-1990s, this cooperation involved chiefly the Slovak Brotherhood movement, (a successor of the clero-fascist Hlinka’s Guard), The Movement of National Unity (reminiscent of the traditions of Moravian claro-fascism), and National Rebirth of Poland (a successor to the Dmowski movement).
By the end of the nineties, this cooperation was stepped up by their inclusion into the trans-national network dubbed International Third Position (ITP) that was already involved in agitation activities ‒ especially in Poland.
The ITP had the brunt of activities in Great Britain, with a significant role of Italian neo-fascists. Moreover, the first half of the new century saw the establishment of a new organization titled European National Front, with participation of Czech Republic, NOP from Poland, and Slovak National Unity. Later, the organization’s Central and Eastern European Conference was established.
After NOP split from the German NPD, ENF has split as well, which meant that the organizations from Western-Slavic countries remained outside of the mainstream and practically ceased to exist.
Aside from the skinhead sub-culture and affiliated organizations, in the early nineties, informal structures formed, uniting anti-Semitic streams from the predominantly Catholic environment. Brno and Bratislava formed the main axis of cooperation already during the period of Czecho-Slovak Federation, which has even outlasted it. In Bratislava, anti-Semitic pamphlets were published (including the Protocol of Sion) for distribution in Slovakia and the Czech Republic.
Inspiration for this political direction in Central Europe was also drawn by the influential Radio Maryja in Poland.
One Polish non-Catholic anti-Semitic organization has even attempted to establish pan-Slavic Cooperation as the platform for its activities; however, it was under the control of the Marxist-Leninist left. As a result, at the pan-Slavic Congress in Prague it organized in 1998, all anti-Semitic declarations were greatly toned down.
In contrast to the skinhead sub-culture and the above-mentioned anti-Semitic networks, the transnational contacts between political parties were much less intense and stable. This was in part due to the turbulent changes taking place on the ultra right-wing spectrum in the countries of East-Central Europe. External actors played a significant role in initiating trans-national ties ‒ primarily the French National Front, and gradually also German parties. It is important to note that the parties on the ultra-right wing spectrum were focusing on domestic political agitation and using prejudices against neighboring countries, which had the effect of blocking international cooperation (primarily Slovak and Hungarian; and Czech and German).
Already in the first half of the nineties, the Czech Republic was visited by a delegation of youth organization of the National Front that engaged in dialogue with the Czech-based Patriotic Front. The main activities of the National Front, however, were influenced primarily by the itinerary of its leader Jean Marie Le Pen and his desire to find partners in Central and Eastern Europe for his PanEuropean organization of extreme right-wing parties Euronat. In 1997, he has invited the ‒ representatives of right-wing parties to the congress of the National Front in Strasbourg.
Le Pen has also visited Slovakia’s Slovak National Party presided by Ján Slota; Czech Republic and its Union for the Republic ‒ Republican Party of Czechoslovakia (SPR-RSČ) headed by Miroslav Sládek; and the Hungarian Party of Justice and Life (MIÉP) led by István Czurka. Representatives of FN also met with several smaller Polish right-wing groupings.
This activity serves to show that in connection with the EU enlargement, the ultra right-wing parties from the new member states have
grown in importance.
Aside from contacts from the West, In the 1990s, Liberal-Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR) under the leadership of Vladimir Žirinovskij has shown interest in cooperating with parties in East-Central Europe. In 1994, a delegation of LDPR attended a congress of the Small Front of National SelfDefense in Poland, which was also attended by the Czech SPR-RSČ. Since 2003, LDPR organizes world congresses of patriotic parties in Moscow, with invitations extended to Central European parties.
German and Austrian right-wing extremist parties were not all that active in the 90s when it comes to establishing ties with East-Central Europe. The German People’s Union (DVU) was attempting to agitate among the Germans living in the Czech lands, Moravia and Silesia, albeit without any major success.
In 2001, relations were kicked off between German parties and Czech right-wing extremist party National-Socialist Block when the members of NSB participated in the event of NPD and DVU in Germany . Already by the end of the nineties, the youth organization of National Democratic Party of Germany Junge Nationaldemokraten had its sympathizers in the region (Its chapter in the Czech Republic was to keep its German name).
However, attempts at founding the Czech chapter of JN were not successful, mainly given to worries over the organization’s discreting.
The case of Junge Nationaldemokraten serves as a good example how the dissemination of the organizational and ideological know-how work sin the trans-national neo-Nazi environment. The pamphlet that was distributed in 1999 in the Czech right-wing extremist circles among other things states: “The so-called right-wing movement in Czech Republic is from the start in chaos. Disunited, dragged through mud by the media, manipulated and fraught with agents of the system. The organizations that do exist don’t meet our expectations. The ideals they push don’t correspond with ours. Their activities are mostly limited to putting up posters without any major effect. We demand change. We want a mass movement that will utilize all the propaganda weapons and repression to bring about change in the system that we consider criminal and bad. We want a movement of organized youth that will stand up to the multi-cultural morass and twisted ideologies represented by communism and capitalism.
We want to achieve a legal way to what other half-legal organizations have been attempting for years. How do we want to achieve it? Our role model is NPD/JN that succeeded in uniting the German resistance movement fragmented into dozens organizations. Today NPD/JN organizes rallies attended by thousands and poses a threat for the system.
We can build an organization that will be a thorn in the system’s eye. The key is a well- organized movement. The youth united under one banner. Active groups across the entire country working for a single purpose under one leadership. Let’s put focus on propaganda. Thanks to propaganda’s power, in the 1920s, a small movement in Germany was able to put the country back on its feet. We will start by
putting up posters and infiltrate television discussions and newspapers as a new European movement.
We will move on to rallies and public speeches as a regular political force. JN has to be a force to be reckoned with, has to be a uniting force capable of action. And all this under the protection of the system, which we are fighting against.”
The proposed statute sent to the Ministry of Interior in 1999 by Czech chapter of JN defended the keeping the organization’s German name in a slightly different way: “To prevent any connection with the existing National-Democratic Party and out of respect for the idea of European cooperation.”
As to their aims, JN states: We understand “Europeaness” in terms of active cooperation with other European nations, especially the German nation, based on mutual equality. To this end we want to contribute to strengthening mutual contacts between individual European nations. To this end, we have to pursue a thorough dissemination of these ideals and principles, especially among the youth.
On top of the main aim of deepening cultural exchanges with other European nations, we consider it necessary to face together with other democratic organizations those ideologies that are in stark contrast to building a new, harmonious Europe, such as communism or fascism.
Here, it is necessary to note that the founders of JN were associating themselves with the non-Nazi National Resistance. As was already stated above, in the end JN failed to get registered as a party, however, the influence of German strategy and ideology is apparent from these materials.
5. Present-day cooperation of right-wing extremist political parties
In the present-day Central and East-Central Europe, we are witnessing the cooperation of right-wing extremist parties, as well as participation of political entities in global extreme right-wing organizations and networks. The cooperation in the Central European region does not take place within a stable overarching structure, rather the last several years it is developing on a relatively stable bilateral and trilateral basis. To understand the actors taking place in this cooperation, we need to take into consideration the transition of the right-wing extremist scene in East-Central Europe. Mid-way through the first decade of the new millennium, the right-wing extremist scene was
at its most powerful in Poland thanks to the electoral success of the conservative Catholic entity, the League of Polish Families. However, in 2007 the golden era of Polish right-wing extremism ended.
In the second half of that decade, the Hungarian right-wing took on the dominant role as a result of the increase in popularity of the Movement for a Better Hungary (Jobbik), which translated to the success of this party in the elections to the European Parliament in 2009 and to the national parliament a year later.
In Slovakia, the established right wing part of the spectrum is represented by the Slovak National Party, which was represented in the parliament in the period 2006-2010, but did not make it to the parliament after the 2012 preliminary elections. Aside from SNS, a new rightwing entity came to rise in Slovakia: People’s Party ‒ Our Slovakia (LS-NS) with close ties with Slovak Brotherhood (SP) organization.
In the Czech Republic, a new party was established in 2002 called the New Strength, which was later re-named the Workers’ Party. Gradually, it became the strongest right-wing extremist party in the Czech Republic in light of the loss of the decrease in popularity of SPR-RSČ as well as the National Party founded on the Hussite tradition. The Workers’ Party started to cooperate with the neo-Nazi spectrum ‒ primarily with the National Resistance and Autonomous Nationalists. In 2010 the Workers’ Party was dissolved by court, with its leadership and majority of the members joining the Workers’ Party of Social Justice (DSSS).
The Workers’ Party has in 2009 initiated intensive relations with the National Democratic Party of Germany (NPD), which was helped along by previous contacts between neo-Nazi groups in both countries (especially between the National Resistance and the Autonomous Socialists on each side of the border). DSSS is continuing contacts with NPD: in 2011 both parties have adopted a common Manifesto of Riesa on human rights abuses, which among other things states:
“The Czech and the German nations find themselves in a deep moral, social and economic crisis brought about by politicians who have been at the helm for too long. Both nations have lived side by side for hundreds of years and share a common culture, values and history. The right to own country should be the basis of the state’s policies.
Knowing full-well the situation in both neighboring countries, we express our greatest concern over the ongoing encroachments on human rights, such as persecution of political dissidents and national political activists, banning and dissolution of opposition political parties, abusing the freedom of speech, the right to meeting and gathering, and illegal incarceration of political activists.
The ongoing political crisis has led to the open abuse of the freedom of speech and the right to association. These encroachments also encompass mass detention and charging of opposition activists, which goes against the principle of rule of law and threatens their right to due process. Our states no longer have rule of law. The ongoing appeals of the EU representatives regarding the human right record in the world de-mask their hypocrisy. In reality, the EU’s standards of freedom of thought and freedom of speech are similar to those in China or Cuba.
Many in democratic Europe face imprisonment for questioning the official versions of historical events. For many years the ruling elites have been abusing the legal system, the police and the security apparatus in order to make it difficult for those with alternative views, including the political opposition, anti-government demonstrators and individuals or organizations that feel the need to proclaim their loyalty to national values.
In their effort to find the solutions to the challenges Europe faces, both sides enter into cooperation in these areas:
a) Promotion of anti-migration policies
b) Resistance to all attempts to limit freedom of speech
c) Criticism of the undemocratic system of the EU institutions
d) Support of campaign against illegal and armed conflicts pursued by the US and NATO in the world
e) Cross-border cooperation at the community level
Both parties are deeply concerned by the ongoing political, social and economic crisis in their countries. The crisis in Europe is a crisis of values. European governing elites have lost all credit. We see heightened tension between the public and the governmental representatives. Instead of solutions to real problems the public faces, the ruling elite demonize political opposition (the so-called extremists) with the aim of covering up their own mistakes and cover up the past.
The enormous public debt, together with the crucial problems of the Eurozone are the proof of total bankruptcy of the EU project. The term “European Union” is empty of meaning. We want to inspire the citizenry and the public to embark on a new, free and nationally-based European project. We believe in Europe’s new beginning.
” The relations between DSSS and NPD are intertwined, and the cooperation extends also to the organizations affiliated with both parties.
The Workers’ Party has initiated cooperation also with Slovak Brotherhood (its transition to the level of party politics was stopped in 2006 by a ban imposed by court). This cooperation has paved the way for closer contacts between DSSS and the Peoples’ Party – Our Slovakia. In 2008 the members of Slovak Brotherhood have participated in several rallies organized by DS in the Czech Republic. SP has in turn held in Slovakia Nationalist Olympic Games, attended by the reps from the Workers’ Party, The New Right organization (Nuova dreapta) from Romania, and Polish organization called Falanga.
Both DSSS and ĽS-NS have visited each other’s rallies. Slovak Brotherhood has for a long time had anti-Hungarian rhetoric. By the end of 2010, however, it made a turnaround when it entered into friendly relations with a smaller Hungarian organization Hungarian National Front (MNA) and has made strides to overcome the traditional division lines. In 2010, Slovak Brotherhood in cooperation with its Hungarian counterpart and a Serbian organization Nacionalni stroj, organized a march against chauvinism in Komarno (also with the participation of supporters of ĽS-NS).
The most powerful Hungarian right-wing extremist party Jobbik still remains anti-Slovak in rhetoric, focusing on criticism of the governmental policies and the Slovak National Party, which in turn uses the Hungarian card. SNS in turn has maintained relations, among others, with the Czech National Party (especially through its youth organizations). The relations between the Czech and Slovak rightwing groups have gotten a bit complicated when the Slovak National Party (and the affiliated National guards) and Jobbik (and its affiliated Hungarian guards) held a meeting in Bratislava in 2007 (even though the cooperation of Czech NS and Jobbik ran aground on the issue of Benes Decrees.
The cooperation between the Hungarian Guard and the Czech National Guards is characteristic of a specific type of extreme right-wing cooperation in East-Central Europe in the second decade of the 21stst century ‒ noteworthy namely for their paramilitary party structures. Both organizations have modeled their image after the fascist formations in the region in the 1920s, 30s, and 40s, but most of
all have a strong propaganda effect. In 2007, Jobbik established the Hungarian Guard, which was subsequently followed by the formation of National Guards affiliated with the Czech National Party, and in 2008 also the Protection Guards of the Workers’ Party (one of the reasons of the party’s ban); later its successor established Vigilante Civic Patrols of the Workers’ Party of Social Justice.
Thus, we are witnessing a trans-national regional trend. In the Czech Republic, the National Unity attempted in 2005 to establish more stable relations with the League of Polish Families; however, given the party’s marginal position on the Czech partypolitical scene, the cooperation did not enjoy good prospects. Nevertheless, the cooperation was to encompass the following: “exchange of information and coordinating approach in the defense of Trans-National Cooperation of Right-Wing Extremists in East-Central Europe ‖ Miroslav Mareš
national interests, especially in connection with the stepped-up attempts of the European Union to revision the post-WWII settlement in Central Europe, as well as raising demands for restitution.
Both sides agreed on the necessity to defend the shared traditional Christian values, which are under constant attack by liberal and socialist forces controlling the EU. In the future they envision the project of pan-European national-conservative party.
Even though LPR was temporarily engaged in the mainstream of European right-wing scene, as well as in the negotiations on the new project, in the end, it did not become a part of any formation. The National Rebirth of Poland has in 2011 held talks on cooperation with an All-Ukrainian Unity Freedom Party.
Nevertheless, among PanEuropean right-wing parties, Hungarian Jobbik began to play a prominent role. To better understand the processes on the Pan-European level and the involvement of East-Central European, we need to keep in mind the 2004 first eastward enlargement of the European Union, followed by the accession of Bulgaria and Romania 2007. This made the parties from the newly
acceded countries attractive as possible new members in a European level right-wing political entity or in terms of joining a political fraction in the European Parliament. These institutionalized groups are also of interest to the new members from the point of view of finances for which they are eligible from the EU budget. One drawback, however is that establishing EU level parties often leads to weakening of the individual parties domestically and ultimately splits the European right-wing scene. Moreover, one side effect is the moderation of their extremism in some cases.
Mid-way through the decade, the project pushed by Jean Marie Le Pen, Euronat ceased to exist and the European National Front had fallen into a crisis, limiting its activities to a minimum. After that the right-wing scene enjoyed a wave of upsurge brought about by the support of the Flemish Block after it became banned in 2005, albeit without any specific results. The first half of the decade also saw an isolated attempt by Austrian politician Jörg Haider to establish European right-wing structures.
A significant milestone was achieved in 2007 with the entry of Bulgaria and Romania into the EU with the Greater Romania Party (PRM) and the Bulgarian National Alliance – Ataka (NS-Ataka). This fueled the rise of a group “Identity, Tradition, Sovereignty (ITS) in the European Parliament. From Western Europe, the MPs of French National Front (FN) joined, as well as the Flemish Interest (VB),
Italian parties New Force (FN), Social Alliance (AS), and Free Parties of Austria (FPÖ).
It was widely expected that this group would form a center of trans-national right-wing cooperation, especially due to membership of the German NPD, and potentially the League of Polish Families, which in the end did not join due to reservations by FPÖ. In addition, the group experienced turbulences due to the conflict between the Greater Romania Party (PRM) and the Italian AS due to anti-Romanian rhetoric by Alessandra Mussolini. As a result, Romanian MPs left and due to the significant drop in membership, the group ceased its activities.
Subsequently, with the upcoming European Parliament Elections in 2009, there was talk of establishing European Patriotic Party, but in the end it did not materialize. Thus, after 2009 the rightwing scene in the European Parliament remained fractioned. From the Central European parties, the Slovak National Party became a member of the moderate group Europe of Freedom and Democracy, while Jobbik remained unaffiliated; and in Czech Republic and Poland no right wing party gained any votes. In this context, it is important to note that the good showing by Hungarian Jobbik contributes to the overall strength of the right-wing scene in EP, but by the same token it fuels rows in the countries neighboring Hungary.
Attempts at uniting the European right-wing scene with participation of entities from East-Central Europe continued. On October 24, 2009 the establishment of the Alliance of European Nationalist Movements (AENM) was announced, initiated by Jobbik, British National Party, and Italian Fiamma Tricolore. The group was later joined by Swedish National Democrats, Finnish National Party, Belgian National Front, All-Ukrainian Union Freedom, Portuguese Partido Nacional Renovador, as well as the Republican Social Movement from Spain.
Czech Workers’ Party also expressed interest in joining, however did not do so in the end.
In July 2012, the AENM conference organized by organized by FT in Milan was joined, on top of the above-mentioned members, by the Slovenian National Party, and the Imperium Europe movement from Malta, as well as reps from smaller organizations from Austria, Germany, Sweden, and Bulgaria. From East-Central Europe, Daniel Pawlowiec from the Polish organization Geopolityka attended.
AENM was in February 2012 recognized as a political party at the EU level, which made it eligible for funding from the EU budget. This has led to protests by its political opponents who are striving for a change in rules, often citing the xenophobic rhetoric of one of its members namely – Jobbik.
Initially when AENM was formed, the membership of FPÖ as well as other parties was being considered, but did not materialize. Thus, FPÖ, and namely its MP in the European Parliament Andreas Mölzer decided to launch his own pan-European project. In October 2010 he has convened to Vienna reps of several right-wing and Euro-skeptic parties – namely Flemish Interest, Slovak National Party, and U.Ks Independence Party, with an aim of gaining their participation in the European Alliance for Freedom (EAF). In the end, membership in this project was individually-based.
One of its members became the chairwoman of Le Pen’s National Front, who left AENM in 2010. The temporary membership of Kristzyna Morvay, who was voted in as independent on the Jobbik ticket in EAF caused quite a controversy. It was probably due to this fact that Danish People’s Party reps, as well as those from The Northern League, and The Right Finns refused to attend.
Presently, EAF has two European MPs from FPÖ, one from UKIP, one from Flemish Interest, and one rep from British National Party, Alliance of European Nationalist Movements Expand to 9 parties, 2009, Sweden who is a member both in the national parliament and Swedish National Democrats; and a rep from Malta.
Right-wing parties in East-Central Europe are also participating at the global level. A case in point is the “Conference of Nationalists, Patriots and Defenders of Identity of their Nations” held in Tokyo in 2010 based on invitation of the ultra-right Nippon Issuikai organization. The event was attended by more than 20 reps from Europe, including Jobbik and reps from National Front, British National
Party, Svoboda (Ukraine), FPÖ, Vlaams Belang, Fiamma Tricolore, and Partido Nacional Renovador.
There are also continuing contacts among right-wing parties at congresses organized by the LiberalDemocratic Party of Russia and its chairman Vladimir Žirinovskij. The latest, 4 th congress, was held in May 2010 in Moscow, attended by reps from 17 countries, among others from Estonia, Japan, China, Korean People’s Democratic Republic, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Bangladesh, Belarus, Moldavian Transnistrian Republic, and Ukraine.
The attendees from the Czech Republic included delegates from SPR-RSČ, which brought on a discussion on the country’s nationalist spectrum, whether it really is a representative-enough entity.
6. Present-day cooperation of extremist movements in organizing rallies
This chapter describes contacts between organizations affiliated with broader movements in organizing mass demonstrations and rallies. Here we will use an analytical division, given that it is mainly the rallies that see the attendance of both representatives of political parties and militant groupings. Overall, we see mutual support at regular rallies as the highest degree of trans-national cooperation.
It needs to be said that German neo-Nazis have played an important role in the process of integration of Central European neo-Nazi spectrum. They have regularly organized a memorial gathering coupled with a march held in a Bavarian town of Wunsiedel, the place of burial of the Nazi war criminal Rudolf Hess. It was Hess who is seen in Western Europe as a peacemaker in light of his 1941 trip to UK striving for cooperation between the Aryan nations. Even though his legacy concerning Slavic nations is questionable, Czech neo-Nazis have attended these events, and reps from National Resistance even give a speech in 2004.
Nevertheless, the organizer Jürgen Rieger demanded that an apology is made for Benes decrees (legal basis for deportations of Germans after WWII), with the Czech reps refusing then because they felt no responsibility for the events. Later, however, they distanced themselves from the decrees, which removed a significant hurdle to cross-border cooperation.
The importance of the Wunsiedl marches has gradually decreased (also as a result of state repression) and finally in 2011 losing its symbolism after the grave of Rudolf Hess was removed. Also Jürgen Rieger, one of the main march organizers died.
Yet another platform for cooperation became Fest der Völker organized in a Thuringia. Its first year it was attended by the representatives of Slovak Brotherhood, one of which recounted the events as follows: “The aim of the festival was to strengthen the brotherhood and deepen the cooperation between nationalists from across Europe. The purpose was also to demonstrate our unity and shared values of the European civilization, which we intend to preserve for future generations, as well as common problems we share. Among the invited quests was also Slovak Brotherhood – National Party, representing all Slovak national forces which sent a 4-person delegation to the event. One of the attendees recounted the visit:
The trip to the festival showcasing national forces in Jena began Friday. After our arrival, we were accommodated in the local HQ of NPD. We did not get much sleep, however, because of late night talks with nationalists from Bulgaria, Germany, Greece, England, Holland, and Sweden. In the morning we went to the venue. On the way there, there were some skirmishes with some doped-up youth we encountered and explained to them that bums, junkies and addicts are unwanted scum. The festival began before noon; however, the advertised central square in Jena had to be changed by the organizers after problems with local authorities for a far removed parking lot on the outskirts of town.
The organizers promised to repeat the festival in Jena every year in the coming 10 years. The event was attended by about 1,500 patriots from across Europe and the program included the speeches by the invited quests and musical groups. The welcome speech was given by Frank Schward from NPD, followed by our old friend Claudio Mihut from the Romanian organization Noua Dreapta.
After that, other speeches followed: by Constant Custers from Holland, Stephen “Swiny” Swinfen from England, Patrik Wieschke from Germany, another speaker from Holland – Tim Mude, a Hungarian Zolt Elek Illes, Bojan Rasate from the Bulgarian organization BNS, and Thomas Ölund from Sweden. After that, a delegate from Slovak Brotherhood – National Party gave his speech. The closing speeches were
given by Giovanni Di Blasi of Italy and Nick Giohalas of Golden Dawn from Greece. Outside the official program, there were more speeches from a Russian, a Swiss, and an Austrian. The speeches were punctuated by musical performances – Indiziert from Switzerland, Brigada M from Holland, Nemesis from Scotland, System Coffin from Germany, Verzszerzodes from Hungary, Nothung from Sweden, Defiance from France, Before the War from Slovakia and Legion of Thor from Germany.”
The subsequent years, the festival was attended also by reps from National Resistance or Workers’ Party.
Yet another important venue for gathering of European right-wing extremists became the annual marches in Dresden, organized officially as a remembrance for the victims of the allied bombing in 1945. The event is organized by Junge Landsmannschaft Ostdeutschland – Landesverband Sachsen/Niederschleßien (JLO), an organization with roots in Junge Landsmannschaft Ostpreußen, established in 1991 and affiliated with the banned Landsmannschaft Ostpreußen. The latter was not classified by the internal information service of Saxen, as an extremist organization and has in 2000 separated from the youth organization (which has manifested right-wing tendencies).
Subsequently, it achieved in a court ruling in 2006 that due to the similarity in naming, JLO cannot use the wording Landsmannschaft Ostpreußen, Which is why JLO in 2006 had to be re-registered under the present name.
According to the Bureau for Protection of the Constitution in Saxen, JLO is a right-wing extremist organization. In fact, presently it has a membership of only about 20 persons.
Nevertheless, the main events the organization puts on since 1999 – Treuermarsch attract thousands of neo-Nazis from Germany and the neighboring countries, including Czech Republic and Slovakia. The marches are regularly blocked by wing extremism, and attacked militant anti-fascists who attack the rightwing participants One participant from Czech Republic (who in his own words has German ancestry) has described one such attack by leftists during 2011 on the website of Workers’ Party of Social Justice: “I don’t understand the useless attacks of leftist agitators. I don’t see how they can desecrate the remembrance of innocent victims. Or should I think that their way of remembrance for the victims of the Dresden bombing is better than a peaceful memorial march of nationalists? No, no one can possibly think that. I don’t see anything decent in setting trash bins on fire or creating chaos.
From my forefathers I have in my veins both Czech and German blood. And there is no doubt that the German side of my family did not have it easy after the war. My grandmother and grandfather who were retired at the time never picked any fight with anybody and lived their own lives. Despite that, their property was confiscated by the post-war communist regime and they were deported. No one
cared that they have lived their entire lives in the Czech lands, where they have worked hard. In short, their only quilt was that they were Germans. We have never seen them again. The Czech branch of my family stayed here, while and they in their old age were forced to leave into the unknown. Is someone also going to keep me from having fond memories of them?”
The Dresden memorial marches have also served to inspire neo-Nazis in the Czech Republic and Slovakia to organize similar events. In 2009 in the Czech Town Ústí nad Labem near the German border, a march was put on by Autonomous Nationalists to commemorate the victims of the allied bombing (the town saw Czech and German civilian casualties). A sizable German participation was planned, but in the end it fell short of expectations and the failed to establish a tradition. A similar fate was also met by the march organized in Nové Zámky in Slovakia.
In the Czech Republic, more weight is attached to marches held on 1st of May. A march held in 2011 organized by the Workers’ Youth saw the participation of National Democratic Party of Germany, Austrian National People’s Party, People’s Party – Our Slovakia, and Polish Autonomous Nationalists.
The rally was held under the motto “Let’s Stop the Invasion of Foreign Labor,” identical to that used in a demonstration held in Germany’s Heilbronn, attended also by reps of DSSS.
The most prominent international event in East-Central Europe was the above-mentioned meetings in Budapest titled “The Day of Honor commemorating the German-Hungarian defense of Budapest against the Soviet army in 1945. The event is regularly attended by a number of political organizations from Hungary and across Europe, including in 2011 also the representatives of the Slovak Brotherhood. One SP member recounts: “I would like to underline that even if we are honoring about the defenders of Budapest, it might as well be the defenders of any other city who did not hesitate to lay down their lives for their country. As one of the speakers mentioned, there is no difference
between the defenders of Budapest or Stalingrad.
Poland is also an important staging ground for right-wing extremist events. It is possible that the international importance of the March of Independence held in Poland each September will grow. In 2011 the march was organized by All-polish Youth and National-Radical Camp. On top of a number of Polish organizations, the attendees also came from abroad, including the following: Forza Nuova of
Italy, Democracia Nacional from Spain, Nordisk Ungdom from Sweden, Jobbik and a 64 County youth organization from Hungary, SNP 1389 from Serbia, Slovak Movement of Rebirth, Ukrainian National Council – Ukrainian National Defense (UNA-UNSO), Belorussian organization Freedom, as well as Czech, Ukrainian, Belorussian, and a Lithuanian autonomous nationalists.
The march has also attracted quite a counter-reaction, even an international coalition of militant anti-fascists who picked fights with right-wing extremists. Some right-wing organizations from East-Central Europe have also taken part in pan-European anti-Islamist projects, mostly held in Western Europe, which may not exactly fit the classification of right-wing extremism as such.
Already in 2007, Czech members of the National Party have taken part in the anti-Islamist rally held in Brussels and the party chairwoman Petra Edelmannová attended a Congress Against Islamization held in Cologne in 2009.
7. Present-day cooperation of right-wing extremist on education and media
East-Central Europe has also seen a range of trans-national educational projects, with national branches established, whether it’s the right-wing information portal Altermedia or the Metapedia encyclopedia, a neo-Nazi twist on Wikipedia. The cooperation also encompasses teams of intellectually-styled periodicals, e.g. Czech National Thought or Polish Polityka narodowa.
A broader geographic reach is also achieved by visits of leading right-wing extremist ideologues, such as David Duke’s tour of Central Europe.
The last several years, the scene in East-Central Europe is increasingly influenced by modern Italian non-fascist intellectual and strategic trends, such as the ones promoted by Zentropa website. Outside Italy organizational structures were copied and contacts established also with Autonomous Nationalist in the Northern Pomerania – Westphalia and their organization Generation Z. These groups are also keeping up contacts with Czech Autonomous Nationalists and National Resistance in Prague, which in turn led to the founding in 2009 of Zentropa Klan Czechia – Generace Z.
Casapaund movement is yet another Italian trend that has made its way to East-Central Europe that endorses new social approaches by focusing on the protection of European populations from Global capitalism. Its methods include occupation of abandoned building, organizing cultural programs and education and training activities for its sympathizers, offering them a broad range of free time activities and engaging with students.
Further east, in Ukraine, a conference was held in May 2012 organized by the Autonomous Resistance Movement and attended by reps from Belorussian organization the Right Union, Lithuanian Union of National Youth, Russian organization Volnost and autonomous nationalist group Novosibirsk. The main speaker at the event came from Casapound Italia. The conference discussed new forms of agitation, including street art and healthy lifestyle.
8. Present-day cooperation at the level of right-wing extremist sub-culture
In East-Central Europe, the sub-culture of skinheads is still very much alive and well, even if it no longer enjoys a dominant position as it did in the 1990s. Its sympathizers tend to go to concerts in the region, mostly in Hungary, as well as smaller events taking place in other countries (even if under the police watch, especially in Czech Republic).
Skinheads in East-Central Europe also attend events outside the region, such as Veneto Summer Fest in Italy organized by Veneto fronte skinheads.
The new sub-culture stream – autonomous nationalists – lends itself to a broader range of musical styles than is the case with traditional
skinhead rock (e.g. Nazi hip hop); however, these spin-offs are not that popular in East-Central Europe.
In the past several years hardbass has appeared as a specific form of expression for cultural and political views of young right-wing extremists. With roots in the techno scene of the 90s, it is not inherently connected with right with extremism (it was rather associated with left-wing alternative culture). It got its start on the hard trance scene in Western Europe and was also referred to also as hardstyle.
Even half through the first decade, small groups of gabbers (hard-techno fans) in Germany and the Netherlands were of right-wing orientation.
Independent of these sub-cultures, hardbass began to take root in the Straight Edge (SxE) community and later also among ultra right-wing hooligans in Russia. Here, it was combined with dancing in public spaces, shops and other places and promoted a healthy, fun-filled lifestyle. In 2011 it began to expand to Central and Eastern Europe (Ukraine, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Serbia) and was
positively received also in Great Britain and other countries.
Hard bass aims to provoke and at the same time amalgamate young right-wing extremists around a “rebel style.” Hard music and energetic moves during a collective dance serve as a way to provoke the establishment: A group dancing to hardbass, wearing masks and extremist symbols can come across as menacing to onlookers and enemies alike. The lyrics and the symbols worn by the members of this sub-culture contain right-wing and extremist symbols (e.g. the neo-Nazi cypher 14-88). Hardbass is promoted on PEX-sites in the context of other PEX symbols and ideologies.
In 2012 this style experienced a drop in popularity, in part due to criticism by traditionalists in the ultra-right spectrum who viewed it as an ineffective and cause-discrediting form of propaganda.
In East-Central Europe, national-socialist black metal and pagan metal scene enjoy a relatively stable position with right-wing sub-culture. Within this sub-culture, international concerts take place, as well as other standard forms of communication, including interviews, inzines, links to websites and other activities. Several groups in the countries of East-Central Europe are also members of the loose structure of the Pagan Front.
9. Present-day cooperation of the militant right-wing extremist spectrum
The militant right-wing spectrum cooperates on the ideological-strategic level by establishing transnational structures – often for direct pursuit of interests using violence. East-Central Europe has already since the 1990s saw the opening of branches of neo-Nazi organizations, mainly Blood & Honour (with especially strong position in Hungary.
In connection with job migration to Western Europe and the U.S., some activists in East-Central countries became engaged in the right-wing agenda in their new-found homes, while at the same time influencing the scene in their home country (e.g. by providing web hosting).
Concepts of National Resistance and Freie Kameradschfaten combining party-political engagement and militant activities have spread from Germany to East-Central Europe (first to Czech Republic, then to Slovakia and further east to Ukraine and Russia). This has manifested itself in mutual support during anti-Roma attacks in the period 2008-2011 in the Czech Republic also with the participation of Czech, Slovene and German neo-Nazis.
In order to achieve cooperation between different neo-Nazi groups, it was first necessary to clarify some ideological issues. For this purpose, a foundational document “between friends” was elaborated. In German it is called “Grundlegende Vereinbarung zwischen böhmisch/mährischen (tschechischen) und deutschen Kameradengruppen and contains the following clauses:
“In an informal meeting with friends from Czech Republic and Germany/Austria we came to an agreement on the following principles and common policies. This agreement concerns all friends and friend groups who actively participate and act under the banner of the movement of National Resistance on the territory of Czech lands on one hand and the National Resistance of Germany and
Austria on the other.
a. 1. Benes decrees were issued counter to the principles of international law. They were issued as a unilateral decision by the winning powers without the agreement of not only the German, but also the Czech populace. This is why we consider the decrees to be illegal.
2. In case these decrees concern solely the inhabitants of Czech lands and Moravia, it is up to our Czech friends to hasten up their repeal; in their efforts they can count on the unconditional support from the German side.
3. In cases when the decrees led to murders, suffering and of Germans and the confiscation of their property, we declare unanimously that we will do all in our power to end this illegal state of affairs. The rights of the former as well as the present-day German population and their descendants in the Sudeten region should be re-instated.
4. To this effect we proclaim that the former inhabitants of Sudeten and their offspring have a right to freely live in Sudeten.
5. Illegally confiscated property should be returned to its rightful owners.
6. Whenever a conflict would arise over the return of property, the state in charge should create a restitution fund to compensate the incurred material loss. The right to compensation will apply to German as well as Czech subjects.
7. In case of conflict of interests, commissions comprising both national groups will be established and will carry out their duties based on mutual respect, arriving at a legal solution.
b. The above-mentioned agreement aims to achieve a problem-free and healthy cooperation between groups of Social and National Resistance and all their representatives.
2. All this is needed primarily to eliminate useless and diverging proclamations or acts. Only in this way can cooperation continue in line with the strategic goal of bringing about “Europe of nations.”
3. For this purpose, we purposely look to the legacy of the German Reich and its allies as the backbone of Europe. Only our common struggle can stop the destruction of our nations perpetrated by enemy powers through imposing biological and economic burdens.
4. We, the Czech and German friendly groups agree on mutual support whenever possible.
5. This agreement will help us put an end to the slavery of our nations cast into by the post-war domination of allied winning powers and will help us to cast off the sinister influences (global financial system). By doing so, we will lay down the foundation for mutual respect for our policy that will serve the people, will ensure the independence and self-respect of our partners and lead to the reinstating of pan-European responsibility.
In the militant right-wing spectrum, there are visible influences from the east, mainly Russia – the neo-Nazi terror in Russia (especially that of the militant wing of RNSP) serves as an inspiration for global neo-Nazism. Russia serves as an important base for neo-Nazism as is evidenced by the recently uncovered activities of murderous gangs and the presence of terrorist ultra right-wing organizations. The phrase “Russian way” became used to refer to brutal neo-Nazi violence and terrorism also in Central Europe.
However, inspiration is also coming from within the Central European region, as was demonstrated by a positive reception of Czech neo-Nazis of the activities of Death Squad in Hungary (responsible for murders, larceny attack and shootings of Roma).
These methods were all too familiar to one Czech perpetrator of larceny who has set ablaze a house inhabited by Romas in Vitkov, which left a 2-year old girl badly burned. In internal communication between members of the neo-Nazi movement, this brutal attack was likened to the terror campaign unleashed in Hungary.
Moreover, Central and Eastern Europe serves as a staging ground for paramilitary trainings with international participation.
The importance of the region was also highlighted by ultra-right wing extremist elements from the West. In his manifesto, the Norwegian ultra right-wing terrorist Anders Breivik has commended the countries of East-Central Europe and planned to include them in his so-called Nordic union. The list of people to whom he sent his manifesto included several dozen names from Central Europe. Breivik also sourced weapons in the region.
What’s more, a portion of racist activists in the region praised him for his act, the Czech White Media organization being just one of them.
The international element of cooperation can also take the form of the so-called situational violence, involving multi-national right-wing extremist groups or their members. A case in point is the participation of the Slovak neo-Nazi Lukáš Vorobeľ on a violent attack on opponents of neo-Nazism in Strakonice in the Czech Republic in 2008.
The court protocol describes the act as follows: “The charged L.V together with M.V have perpetrated the act on May 10th, 2008 from 1:45 to 2:10 in S. on the street … both were shouting Nazi slogan “Sieg Heil,” raising the right arm in a Nazi greeting and shouting “gas the Jews” and “Jews are the Plaque” and when they were reprimanded by the victim J.S when he approached them, a physical altercation started when J.S has pulled down M.V to the ground, this altercation ended and during a talk L.V, without being threatened whatsoever, has stabbed the victim J.S in the back of his neck using an attack knife 240 mm length using medium strength aware that this could lead to death and caused the victim J.S a laceration and a penetrating wound in the back of the neck in the length of 2-3 cm from top left to bottom right, severing one of the arteries, the third inter-vertebral disc, rear spinal muscles on the left and ending in the right inter-vertebral area
causing epidural blood hemorrhage leading to an ongoing sick leave with serious permanent damage.
In case the victim did not receive specialized medical care, his life would be threatened due to stoppage of breathing and considerable blood loss and infected inflammation, leakage of epidural fluid with possible pressure on the brain stem which could lead to death. , The charged M.V attacked the victim S.V. from behind, who has caught in his hand the blade of the knife. L.V and the charged M.V used another knife to cause the victim S.V a laceration wound 4 cm in length penetrating the right ear. The charged M.V has had for at least 4 years a tattoo of a Nazi symbol of the SS, an iron cross in the center of which is a skull, used as a symbol of SS units. The charged L.V has a tattoo of a swastika”
The Slovak perpetrator of the attack was convicted in the Czech Republic for attempted murder and received a sentence of 12 years, while his Czech accomplice was sentenced to 3 years.
10. Financial aspects of trans-national cooperation of right-wing extremists
Right-wing extremist organizations are utilizing trans-national cooperation also to improve their overall financial situation. At the level of European party politics, there is an aim apparent to establish a right-wing Euro-party for the purpose of bringing in financial resources from the EU budget, which can be subsequently used to further right-wing cooperation at the European level, as well as for propaganda purposes.
In Western Europe, presently a range of international foundations play an important role in the support of educational and propaganda activities. In Central Europe, where foundations don’t enjoy a strong position, compensation is facilitated by entities based in Western and Northern Europe, such as Kontinent Evropa Stiftung founded by a Swedish activist Patrick Brinkmann, which represents an intellectual foundation, ideologically close to right-wing extremism.
Based on some sources, a German rep of the foundation has in 2008 held talks with the reps of Czech Workers’ Party. Direct financial support for right-wing extremists in Hungary and Slovakia also came from nationalist and post-fascist émigré circles in Western countries − especially in the 1990s. Presently, networks of new emigrants from Central and Eastern Europe in Western Europe and the U.S., cofinance joint projects (e.g. hosting of websites and other activities). There are also speculations regarding the possible financial contributions of select banned German extremist groups with interest in supporting revisionism in Central Europe.
Financial cooperation also takes the form of trans-national assistance to imprisoned activists, whether through direct financial transfers or in kind, e.g. by providing legal services or propaganda activities. Moreover, in the region of East-Central Europe, pro-German right-wing extremist organizations received assistance from a German organization Die Hilfsorganisation für nationale politische Gefangene und deren Angehörige e.V (banned in 2011).
International cooperation is strengthened also by profits generated from extremist shops catering, e.g. to the followers of white power music or brand clothing. If for example Central European bands sell their CDs in internet shops in the U.S, it increases their profits, as well as those of the online vendor, who in turn can donate a portion of the proceeds to support trans-national organizations.
The interest of Western European right wing extremists can lead them to hire persons in Central Europe to e.g. steal symbols of Nazism, as was the case with the “Arbeit macht frei” sign from the memorial of the concentration camp in Auschwitz, organized by Anders Högström in 2009 who enlisted the help of Polish accomplices.
As was shown, in East-Central Europe there are various vectors right-wing extremism can spread. Outside vectors include the West (especially Germany) and south (Italy), or from further away, the U.K or U.S. The German influence is primarily represented by the concept of National Resistance; Italian by Casapound; and Anglo-American by skinheads.
The Eastern vector of influence comes mainly from Russia represented by militant neo-Nazism, hardbass and others.. Moreover, Central European groups are involved as equal partners in pan-European projects, including pan-European political parties. Within the region, specific forms of right-wing extremist structures have been formed, drawing inspiration from Western Europe, mostly in the form of paramilitary party units and mass anti-Roma violence. These manifestations also present the main security threat in conjunction with the potential for ultra right-wing terrorism and paramilitary training in the region.
A portion of the right-wing extremist scene is undergoing a traditional nationalist conflicts, nevertheless the young sub-culture and the neo-Nazi generation has already overcome these hurdles to cooperation, which has the potential of increasing the intensity of trans-national cooperation of right-wing extremists in East-Central Europe.
Doc. JUDr. PhDr. Miroslav Mareš, PhD.
Miroslav Mareš is an Associate Professor at the Masaryk University (MU) in Brno. He is Head of the Section of the Security and Strategic Studies of the Department of Political Science of the Faculty of Social Studies MU. Doc. Mareš has been a leading researcher of number of grant projects (Ministry of Interior of the Czech Republic, Grant Agency of the Czech Republic, Ministry of education, youth and
sports of the Czech Republic). In 2001-2008 he was an expert advisor at Regional Court in Brno (criminology). He is one of the leaders of extremism-related research in Central Europe. He focuses on research of extremism and terrorism, security analysis, party research. He is an author of number of expert analyses and publications. He is member of redaction board at several journals (Czech Journal of Political Science, Defence and Strategy, Central European Political Studies Review).
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