Neo-Nazis Use Internet to Gain a Foothold

Far-right groups in the Balkans have increasingly turned to the Internet to get their extreme message across. More than 60 websites in the region can be found promoting the idea of ethnically pure nation states, neo-Nazism, violent homophobia and other radical right-wing policies, according to a piece posted on Balkan Insight.

In Bosnia, Serb far-right Chetnik groups rely mainly on the Ravna Gora movement, which last year opened an office in the northwestern town of Prijedor. They are also active online and their webpage has 4,000 daily visits while their overall number of visits is some 3 million. They have several groups on Facebook but they are mostly closed.

The webpage of Bosnia’s main Ustasha movement is registered in Kassel, Germany, and offers its own history of the WWII Nazi puppet state, the Independent State of Croatia, a section on “proven Serbian lies” and a list of patriotic songs. Neo-Ustasha groups in Bosnia are especially active in areas close to the border in Croatia, where ethnic incidents flare between the majority Croat population and Bosniak Muslims.

Bosniaks have their own far-right groups, however. Most are linked with radical Islam. But in recent years new movements have also emerged, such as the Bosnian Movement of National Pride, BPNP, which promotes the identity of Bosniaks but without religious prefix. They advocate a secular Bosniak state while declaring a broad list of groups, including Jews, Roma, communists, gays and people of color as enemies of Bosnia.

The moderator of this group’s webpage is a Sarajevan who now lives in Sweden and works under the pseudonym of a former SS officer. This page also has a forum, but one can become a part of it only after answering questions.

One of its leaders told BIRN under the condition of anonymity that their goal was to end the international community’s “dictatorship” over Bosnia, prevent Serbs and Croats from seceding and block the interference of Russia and Turkey in Bosnia’s affairs.

“I joined the movement when I was 21. I started reading about the history of Bosnia and Bosniaks and saw how much Bosniaks had suffered and how many powers tried to wipe out our people,” he said.

“I wanted to protect our people and the BPNP was the only option as they don’t fear to tell the truth,” he told BIRN.

Almost all of the organisations promoting far-right or nationalist ideas in the Balkans have links with similar organizations in Europe.

According to the BPNP member that BIRN spoke to, this organization has the strongest ties with organisations in Scandinavia and Ukraine, but he was mysterious about exactly what kind of relations and cooperation they have.

Despite the conflicting nationalist agendas of the far-right groups in Croatia and Serbia, they share a desire for parts of Bosnia and promote the self-determination or independence of the Croats and Serbs in Bosnia, to create a Greater Croatia or Greater Serbia. Serbian rightists call for the unification of today’s Serbia with Bosnia’s Serb-dominated entity, Republika Srpska, and with parts of Croatia that were once dominated by Serbs.

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