In 2020, the Counter Extremism Project (CEP) conducted an extensive project, commissioned by the German Federal Foreign Office, on the transnational connectivity of the violent right-wing extremist and terrorist scene(s) in Western Europe and the United States. The research demonstrated that during the last decade, the global extreme right—dominated by American or Western European influences and organizations—has seen the arrival of new players as well as the development of new arenas or conduits for its activities. One pivotal event was the start of the conflict in Ukraine in 2014, which galvanized violent right-wing extremist individuals and networks in Europe and beyond.
This rising importance of extreme right-wing networks in Central and Eastern Europe as well as the Balkans for the transnational movement as a whole has not been sufficiently understood outside expert cycles. This virtual event focused on analyzing these networks in Central, Eastern, and Southern Europe, including in the Balkans. The event introduced three (bi)national perspectives (Ukrainian/Polish, Czech/Slovak, and Bulgarian/Serbian) along two thematic axes:
a) Geographic: linking Western European extremists with organizations in “the East,” including connections to Russian networks, and
b) Functional: highlighting travel activities of right-wing extremists eastwards, in particular to receive paramilitary training in the region.
Finally, the presentations also outlined to what extent such travel and training activities could be a source of revenue for the “Eastern” or transnational violent extreme right, outside other income streams such as music production and festivals, mixed martial art events, sale of merchandise, donations, and criminal activities.
The agenda was as follows:
Dr. Hans-Jakob Schindler, senior director, CEP
Opening remarks and moderation
Bernd Heinze, head of division, International Cooperation against Terrorism, Drug Trafficking and Organized Crime, Foreign Office, Federal Republic of Germany
Kacper Rekawek, PhD, affiliated researcher, CEP
Networks in Poland and Ukraine
Daniel Milo, JUDr., senior advisor and research fellow, GLOBSEC
Networks in the Czech Republic and the Slovak Republic
Ruslan Trad, journalist and author
Networks in Bulgaria and Serbia
Relevant CEP reports: