X

Russia Cultivates Far-Right Extremists Posing As Humanitarian Groups In Bosnia And Serbia

September 2nd, 2021 12:12

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.