By Radovan Bránik, Grigorij Mesežnikov and Daniel Milo
2. May 2017  |  Strategic Communication  |  Central Europe

Political Capital, Hungarian think tank, conducted research on Russian actors and extremists groups in Central Europe and raised awareness of this pernicious influence among the wider public throughout 2016-2017 within the project supported by the National Endowment for Democracy.

Together with partners from the Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia, and Poland, as well as Austria, including GLOBSEC Policy Institute, Political Capital produced comprehensive country studies on the Russian influence and impact on the far-right groups in these countries. The studies provide a precise picture of the scope of the problem, as well as formulate recommendations.

Key findings

Political Capital’s recent research covering Austria, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, and Poland is the first research project that focuses mainly on the violent ramifications of Russia’s regional influence. The country case-studies describe how the Kremlin’s strategy supports fringe, extremist or paramilitary organisations in order to undermine bilateral ties with Ukraine and the United States, and destabilise the region after 2014.

The research highlights that these organisations are posing a national security threat throughout the region by keeping their secessionist, revisionist, and ultranationalist cross-country historical grievances dating back to World War II alive. Bargaining with the territorial disintegration of states and supporting secessionist movements is not something new in the Kremlin’s playbook - Russia has been involved in similar activities all over the Western world, assisting actors ranging from the Italian Lega Nord to the Californian secessionist movement.

The five case-studies and the comparative regional study are all prepared with the involvement of local experts and investigative journalists in the respective countries. 

Download the comarative regional study From Russia with Hate: The activity of pro-Russian extremist groups in Central-Eastern Europe here

The Slovak country report Slovakia: Hatred, violence and comprehensive military training - The violent radicalisation and Kremlin connections of Slovak paramilitary, extremist and neo-Nazi groups is available for download here.

The authors of the Slovak case-study are:

  • Radovan Bránik – independent security expert and blogger
  • Grigorij Mesežnikov PhD. - president, Institute of Public Affairs (IVO)
  • Daniel Milo JUDr. – Head of Strategic Communication Programme at the GLOBSEC Policy Institute

More information about the project are available here

Press release in Slovak is available here.