Bosnian media is reporting that Russia is cultivating and supporting far-right groups in Bosnia and Serbia that operate under the guise of humanitarian aid. According to a Balkan Insight report:
August 26, 2021 Russia engages a range of actors and tools across the Western Balkans, ranging from official diplomats to friendly oligarchs, and from informal radical groups to leading media outlets. This effort is aided by common languages among several former Yugoslav states, which makes it easier to generate regional support for far-right groups in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Such groups have increased their visibility in the Balkans by demonstrating loyalty to those who advocate the secession of Bosnia’s Serb-majority entity, Republika Srpska. BIRN recently published a story about a uniformed pro-Russian group, Sveti Georgije Loncari [“St George of Loncari”], whose members glorify convicted war criminals while posing in Bosnia as a humanitarian organization. This group is linked to a radical right counterpart in Serbia, Srbska Cast, [“Serbian honour”] which also operates under the guise of humanitarian aid. Both organizations, and other similar groups, enjoy Russian support.
Read the full report here.
The report notes that Russian support for groups like Srbska Cast is multi-faceted and ranges from efforts to reinforce far-right narratives online to providing armed and kinetic military training. Additionally, Russian state media promotes the ideological themes of far-right groups, feeding internal tensions to produce opposition to the West.
In August, we reported that far-right European parliamentarians (MEPs) are acting as agents of Russian influence in the center of European power. Other recent GIOR coverage of Russia’s cultivation of the far-right has included:
- In July, we reported that actors linked to Russian disinformation operations are targeting American far-right audiences on alternative online platforms.
- In June, we reported that Russian TV channel RT has jumped into the growing controversy in the US over so-called “Critical Race Theory.”
- In April, we reported on the attempts by far-right figure Tommy Robinson to cultivate relationships with Russia.