Thursday, October 19th, 2017

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“Extremist Breakthrough in the Low Turnout Elections: A Lasting Momentum?”



May 2014 – October 2015


Regional elections in Central Slovakia in November 2013 brought a surprising victory for the right-wing extremist Marian Kotleba as a candidate for the directly elected head of the self-governing region (governor).  Not only have these elections been the most successful for right-wing extremists so far in terms of vote share, but it is also for the first time that an extremist candidate gained a significant elected position. An interesting trend has been observed in the turnout and voting behavior in Banská Bystrica region between the first and second round of elections suggesting that a peculiar (self)mobilization of vote for Kotleba took place leading towards his victory over an opponent who was in the first round close to reaching the 50 percent threshold required for immediate victory. The growth of support for right-wing extremist parties is observable not only in Slovakia, but in many other European countries as well. It would be unwise to wait for the situation to worsen and the electoral support for extremists to grow even further. In order to avoid this scenario, our task is to find out what can be done to prevent this development and provide predictions based on a rigorous and deep analysis of voting behavior.


Main Topics:
  • Mechanisms for mobilization of Kotleba’s voters – quantitative research. Patterns of voting behavior, vote shifts and geographical distribution of electoral votes in regional elections in November 2013, EP elections in May 2014 and municipal elections in November 2014.
  • Moralization as a factor for creation of anti-establishment sentiment.
  • Factor of media campaign as a possible cause of electoral mobilization in favor of Marian Kotleba
  • The fragmentation of radical nationalism in Slovak politics
  • Internet discussions and FB profiles and pages




two_years_afterTwo Years After: Studying Electoral Success of Right-Wing Extremism in Slovakia and What To Do About It, Bratislava: CENAA

Eleven concise texts that are included in the brochure offer several diverse approaches to addressing the issue of increasing support for extreme right-wing parties. They also pose some much needed research questions – all written with an aim to find the reasons behind the growing support for extremist organizations and solutions. It includes not only in-depth analyses of the voter behavior, including the voter shifts and the distribution of support for Kotleba, but also the influence of the media and social networks on the success of this extreme right-wing party’s leader. The authors also examine the process of shaping the attitudes towards the polarizing societal problems and ponder what can be done to mitigate their extreme manifestations.



Kluknavská, Alena (2014): An Extremist or People’s Choice? Media Coverage of Far Right Leader Marian Kotleba in the 2013 Regional Elections, Bratislava: CENAA

In the Policy Paper, Alena Kluknavská analyzes the factor of media campaign as a possible cause of electoral mobilization in favor of Marian Kotleba in regional elections in November 2013

Spáč, Peter;Voda, Peter (2014): Just A Roma Issue? The Theory And The Support For The (Slovak) Extreme Right, Bratislava: CENAA

Petr Voda and Peter Spáč analyzed the factors that affect the increasing support for extreme right political subjects, especially in Slovak conditions. The policy paper is focused not only on the theoretical discussion concerning the shaping and main features of Slovak extreme right, but also the strengthening support, significantly influenced by the presence of “out groups”, i.e. minorities and immigrants.

Findor, Andrej (2015): “Countering Radicalization via Effective Messaging and Popular Inclusion”, Bratislava: CENAA

In the policy paper, Andrej Findor presents a basic conceptual framework to the theory of radicalization and de-radicalization. This framework serves as a theoretical basis for studying the development of electoral behaviour as well as for designing interventions on the local level.

Kluknavská, Alena (2015): “The extreme right and the Internet: The case of the People’s Party Our Slovakia”, Bratislava: CENAA

While the images of established parties and politicians can be transmitted through the mainstream media, the extreme right groups, especially those parties and movements outside of the political arena, have a bigger problem to reach broader public and thus need other channels for the ideology to find its way to the public and resonate with potential supporters. The policy paper by Alena Kluknavská is focused on activities on extreme right groups, especially People´s Party Our Slovakia, on the Internet as a crucial modern tool for the development and diffusion of information.

Gregor, Kamil, Medzihorský, Juraj, Spáč, Peter, Škop, Michal: “Mechanism of Voter Mobilization of ĽSNS and Marian Kotleba Patterns of voting behavior, vote shifts and geographical distribution of electoral votes”, Bratislava: CENAA

Based on a detailed analysis of previous electoral results of People’s Party Our Slovakia (Ľudová strana Naše Slovensko) and Marian Kotleba, the four texts create a solid bloc of research with a focus on Marian Kotleba’s electorate. They bring substantial and interesting findings which apply not only to 2013 regional election but may be used to project the perspectives of LSNS in national politics. Their outcomes may also serve as a basis for a further research, also of qualitative nature.

  • Škop, Michal (2015): “Geographic distribution of votes in Banská Bystrica 2013 regional elections, 2nd round of gubernatorial elections”, Bratislava: CENAA
  • Medzihorský, Juraj (2015): “Territorial Distribution of Electoral Support for LSNS and M. Kotleba”
  • Gregor, Kamil (2015): “Who are Kotleba’s voters? Voters’ transitions in the Banskobystrický Region 2009-2014”
  • Spáč, Peter, Voda, Petr (2015): “Just a Roma Issue? The Support for Marian Kotleba in 2013 Regional Elections”

Kluknavská, Alena (2015): A Right-wing Extremist or People’s Protector? Media Coverage of Extreme Right Leader Marian Kotleba in 2013 Regional Elections in Slovakia, Bratislava: University of Comenius, CENAA

The research paper is focused on the coverage of the extreme right leader Marian Kotleba in the media during the 2013 regional elections in Slovakia. It examines how the media shaped the discourse regarding Kotleba in a six-week period, covering the time before and after the elections. Applying the frame analysis, it identifies ten issue-specific frames that problematize Kotleba in relation to either his general political actions or the regional elections.


Partner organizations:

Faculty of Social and Economic Sciences, Comenius University Bratislava

Department of Political Science, Faculty of Philosophy, Comenius University Bratislava

Central European University

Faculty of Social Sciences, Masaryk University


If you are interested in more detailed information please feel free to contact us at


With support of the Open Society Foundations.


Mitigating the Radicalization of Slovak Society: Research and Shaping of Counter-Extremist Strategies


January 2014 – December 2015


Due to the long-term failure to address burning issues in the society, including alarmingly increasing tendency of tensions between majority population and minority groups, the increase of sympathies towards extremist groups among population could also be accompanied by increase in active participation, which is dangerous should security forces members be concerned, since they are one of declared sources of military and combat know-how for extremist paramilitary groups. In relation to growing dissatisfaction with socio-economic situation as well as increasing tensions in majority-minority relations, this threat has rising potential and can possibly result in further violent actions. Our aim is therefore to address this situation on two levels. First one lies on the individual level of current and former members of security forces, while second one lies in encouraging of systematic solutions on the political level.

 Main Topics:
  • Threats and issues regarding the involvement of members of military and police forces in the activities of extremist movements, especially paramilitary groups
  • Fear and intercultural tensions with relation to the radicalization of members of security forces
  • Involvement of extremism, nationalism and other security issues in European Parliament and municipal elections campaigns in 2014
  • Preventing radicalism in the political mainstream through focus on regions and young party members




obalkaPotočňák, Adam, Vicenová, Radka (eds.). 2015. Radicals in Uniforms: Case studies of Austria, Czech Republic, Germany, Poland and Slovakia.

The publication is a reaction to the development on the right-wing extremist scene in the region of Central Europe, especially a growing activity of so-called paramilitary groups. Of particular importance is the issue of contacts and inter-linkages between paramilitary groups and the state security apparatus (the military, police, etc.), since these important questions remain largely under-researched. The aim of the publication is to open expert-level discussion on this important topic and provide a comprehensive overview of the situation in five countries of the region of Central Europe: Austria, Czech Republic, Germany, Poland and Slovakia.




Ďurfina, Anna, Nečej, Elemír. 2015. Radicals in Unifroms: Recommendations for Countering Extremism and Radicalization in Security Forces. Bratislava: CENAA

In the short brochure, authors Anna Ďurfina and Elemír Nečej summarized the main challenges and issues that should be addressed in short and media term in order to prevent further radicalization in security forces and therefore also further escalation of tensions.

Results of the research project “Radicals in Uniforms”

Results and recommendations resulting from a research project focused on extremism and radicalism in security forces in the Slovak Republic as well as their potential interconnections to right-wing extremist groups.

Video blogs (video 1 and video 2) from the seminar “Radicals in Uniforms

The project was focused on research of extremism and radicalism in security forces in the Slovak Republic as well as their potential interconnections to right-wing extremist groups. Research results were presented during the international expert seminar that took place in Bratislava on September 29, 2015 and show the importance and high topicality of the issue.

Video blogs from the first and the second “NO TO EXTREMISM!” workshops for young leaders

In 2015, CENAA organized two weekend workshops for young leaders „NO TO EXTREMISM“. The aim of the workshops designed for young people from youth political organizations on order to provide them a platform for the discussion and education in the topic of political extremism and radicalism and related risks for the society. Workshops were organized as a part of longterm project dedicated to potential future politicians and people active in the politics and social life, as a reaction to the issue of growing support for the far-right movements and extremist groups that is becoming an acute problem not only in Slovakia, but also in other countries of Europe.

Ďurfina, Alena, Nečej, Elemír. 2015.  The Risk of Radicalization in Armed Forces: The View from Inside. Bratislava: CENAA

The analyses, written by Elemír Nečej, a Senior Research Fellow at CENAA, and Anna Ďurfina, a Research Fellow and Associate Professor at the Faculty of Law of Pan-European University in Bratislava, shed light upon the current situation in armed and police forces of the Slovak Republic with regard to the relevant issues of extremism and radicalization. Drawing on the results from previous studies as well as the recent survey and qualitative research within the ranks of the armed forces, Nečej and Ďurfina present introductory findings on the potential linkages and cooperation between the former members of the armed forces and extremist, paramilitary groups. In addition, they point at the need for improving the opportunities for former members to get actively involved in the community or labor market after their departure from armed forces.

Ďurfina, Anna. 2015. Extremism in the Police Forces. Bratislava: CENAA

The policy paper by Anna Ďurfina elaborates upon research of extremist tendencies within the ranks of the police departments. The author includes recommendations for an efficient fight against this negative phenomenon, drawing on the analysis of survey research conducted among the former members of the police forces.

Nečej, Elemír. 2015. Radicals in Uniforms. Bratislava: CENAA

The policy paper written by Elemír Nečej summarizes the main research results of extremist and radicalization tendencies in armed forces, including recommendations for countering radicalization in security forces in general.

Nečej, Elemír, Vicenová, Radka. 2014. Social-psychological aspects of radicalization in security forces. Bratislava: CENAA

Policy paper is reflecting on the conclusions of the international conference “Management of security systems” and is evaluating the challenges ahead. The conference took place in Liptovský Mikuláš in February 2014 and it main focus was the new emerging threats as extremism and terrorism in armed forces and their social, technical and ecological causes as well as their identification and management of systems for their solution.

Mareš, Miroslav. 2014. Legacy of the Waffen SS for contemporary neo-Nazism. In: Bátor, Peter, Ondrejcsák, Robert. 2014. Panorama of global security environment 2013. Bratislava: CENAA.

The research paper analyses the legacy of Waffen SS for the contemporary neo-Nazi scene. Author described the historical existence of the Waffen SS and addresses the position of former members of the SS in the postwar development of the neo-Nazi spectrum. Various dimensions of the use of legacy SS in contemporary neo-Nazi scene are identified, including model of organizations and actions, symbolism, education activities and art. The author comes to the conclusion that the legacy of the Waffen SS constitutes a very important part of identity of neo-Nazi activists in the contemporary era.

Heglasová, Jana, Peschlová, Kristína. 2015. Monitoring miest a obcí so zameraním na problematiku nárastu podpory krajnej pravice. Bratislava: CENAA

The research report (Slovak only) concludes the first phase of several conducted face-to-face meetings in different municipalities, monitoring the differences in perception of the issues related to the growing extremist tendencies in certain regions of Slovakia, as well as the responses adapted by municipality to tackle the problem. Results show that although the issues the municipalities face are very similar, they are perceived via different prism.

Vicenová, Radka. 2014. Introduction to the Analysis of Program Documents of Selected Slovak Political Parties – 2014 European Parliament Elections. Bratislava: CENAA

The policy paper serves as an introduction to the Analysis of program documents of selected Slovak political parties, focused on the importance the party attributes to foreign and security policy topics, our interest focused on four basic areas: questions of integration and enlargement of the European Union, security and defense policy, internal security (particularly extremism and radicalization) and regional cooperation

Bodnárová, Barbora, Heglasová, Jana, Novák, Peter, Škottová, Erika. 2013. Analysis of Program Documents of Selected Slovak Political Parties in the Field of Foreign and Security Policy – 2014 European Parliament Elections. Bratislava: CENAA

The main aim of the study is to assess the expertise and qualification of political parties’ representatives who shall work in European structures after the 2014 EP elections in the area of foreign and security policy. The primary question, at the center of attention of this study, is the position of successful candidates, i.e. future members of European Parliament, on the most topical issues of foreign and security policy of the European Union, as well as their ideas for solutions on the European level from the position they will occupy over the following five years.


If you are interested in more detailed information please feel free to contact us at


With support of the Open Society Foundations.


Addressing the Growing Extremist Tendencies – Implications for Internal Security and Offering Solutions


May 2012 – October 2013


The project aims to research specific aspects of extremism as a security threat as well as urgent challenge for democracy and human rights in Central Europe. Particularly, we analyze issues which have not been analyzed yet – specifics of international cooperation of extremists, as well as their mutual influence (not only one-way from Germany to Central Europe but also backward). We include particular topics significant in Central European context like veteran-related issues and potential of Hungarian extremism to destabilize the region by potential escalation of the situation. We consider as sine qua non of proper approach to apply research outcomes not only on regional, but also local level.

Main topics:
  • International cross-border cooperation of extremist groups (Germany-Czech Republic-Slovakia-Hungary)
  • German experiences from countering extremism – implications and recommendations for CR and SR; Central European influence towards GER
  • Anti-extremist strategies of relevant political parties in Slovakia
  • Veteran issues in the North-Eastern part of Slovakia
  • Extremist tendencies in the Gemer region in the Southern part of Central Slovakia

Mareš, Miroslav: Rozpoznávanie politického extrémizmu na Slovensku. Príručka pre identifikáciu extrémistických symbolov. Centrum pre európske a severoatlantické vzťahy (CENAA), Bratislava, 2013, 68 pp. (Slovak only)


The manual analyzes recent trends associated with different forms of extremism and radicalism in Slovakia andl is intended not only for state administration officials, including police officers, in order to expand their knowledge of current developments in the field of right-wing, left-wing and ethno-separatist extremism, but is usable also for a much broader target group of NGO sector workers and journalists who deal with the topic or come into contact with the issue of extremism in the course of their profession. The publication also contains an overview of the most frequently used symbols along with its detailed description and historical context.



Research paper is focused mainly on the attention paid to the issue by politicians as well as members of the National Council of the Slovak Republic. CENAA is interested in initiating of the discussion on issues such as the role of politicians and political parties in addressing this serious internal-security problem. The first part of the paper is devoted to the theoretical introduction to the analysis on positions and roles of political parties in a democratic system in general as well as specifically in the development of anti-extremist policy, while the second part consists of the report on a series of meetings and discussions with representatives of the relevant political parties on what kind of attention is devoted to the issue in their program documents and also to what extent it is the priority for them to offer concrete solutions to this issue.

Analysis is aimed at the current issue of extremism and radicalization in armed forces of countries of Central Europe. In the first part of the paper, German expert Astrid Bötticher discuss the theoretical foundations of the term „extremism“ in the context of the armed forces as well as formal and informal constraints, which influence the combat against extremism in the German army. Second part of the analysis deals with the situation in Slovakia and Czech Republic; Elemír Nečej and Richard Stojar evaluate the greatest risks, potential directions of the future development and recommendations for dealing with the situation.

The analysis is about German experiences with counter-extremism strategies and sources of inspirations for the Czech Republic and Slovakia and was written by Astrid Bötticher and Miroslav Mareš.

The aim of the research paper is to examine various forms of trans-national relations of extremist groups as the most challenging security threat in Visegrad 4 countries, with the focus on prevailing trends and vectors of dissemination. With this analysis doc. Miroslav Mareš follows the conclusions of the Round table about the cross-border cooperation of extremist groups, which was held on June 7 in Bratislava.

The research paper written by Zsolt Gál aims to examine the potential of Slovak extreme right to repeat the unprecedented success of Hungarian extreme right in general elections in 2010, when they used the anti-Roma agenda as its primary mobilization tool. Considering the many similarities between the two countries (share of Roma population, its socio-economic situation, territorial distribution, differences between the Roma community and the majority) there is a good reason to believe in a similar outcome. It is argued that some important differences (notably the better economic situation in Slovakia, the existence of a large Hungarian community there and the lack of sufficient extreme-right leadership) until now prevented the „Hungarian scenario‟. However, the majority of these differences are gradually fading away, preparing the fertile soil for extremism. Although the potential support for the extreme-right groups campaigning on (anti-)Roma issues would probably increase, it does not necessarily manifest itself in an increased electoral success as there are other intervening factors which might change the outcome.


More information on expert and regional round tables on extremism HERE.

Expert team:
Doc. JUDr. PhDr. Miroslav Mareš, PhD.

Miroslav Mareš is an Associate Professor at the Masaryk University (MU) in Brno. He is Head of the Section of the Security and Strategic Studies of the Department of Political Science of the Faculty of Social Studies MU. Doc. Mareš has been a leading researcher of number of grant projects (Ministry of Interior of the Czech Republic, Grant Agency of the Czech Republic, Ministry of education, youth and sports of the Czech Republic). In 2001-2008 he was an expert advisor at Regional Court in Brno (criminology). He is one of the leaders of extremism-related research in Central Europe. He focuses on research of extremism and terrorism, security analysis, party research. He is an author of number of expert analyses and publications. He is member of redaction board at several journals (Czech Journal of Political Science, Defence and Strategy, Central European Political Studies Review).

Mgr. et Mgr. Petra Vejvodová Papiežová

Petra Vejvodová is a research fellow and PhD. Candidate at the Department of Political Science at the Faculty of Social Studies, Masaryk University in Brno. In her research she is focusing on political extremism and radicalism in Europe. She works as a project manager in non-profit organization ERUDITIO PUBLICA o.p.s. Mrs. Vejvodová is devoted to projects to promote democratic culture and projects in the field of lifelong learning. She has written numerous expert studies on extremism, such as Autonomous Nationalism (Rexter 2008), Transnational Cooperation of the Far Right in the European Union and Attempts to Institutionalize Mutual Relations (in the publication The Extreme Right in Europe, editors Uwe Backes and Patrick Moreau, Vandenhoeck&Ruprecht, 2012), co-author of publication Extreme Right and Extreme Left in the Czech Republic (Grada 2011).

Astrid Bötticher, MA

Astrid Bötticher is a PhD Candidate at the University of Hamburg (Thesis: “Extreme ideologies in comparison”). Mrs. Bötticher holds diploma in Political Science (Thesis: “New and traditional radical right – an ideology comparison”). With her research interest in theory and methodology of Extremism/Terrorism, she aims to advance the knowledge of social processes of political deviant behavior. Mrs. Bötticher is focused on Ideology, its strategies of survival, its functions and determinations in the ideology-customer, as well as effects of ideology on groups and society. Particularly, she pays attention to the field of social-psychology, sociology and political science within her research on political extremism. Mrs. Bötticher is a lecturer at the Private University Witten/Herdecke.

Prof. Dr. Thomas Grumke

Dr. Thomas Grumke studied political science and German literature in Osnabrück, Ottawa, Berlin, New York and Frankfurt/Oder. Mr. Grumke holds doctorate in „Right-Wing Extremism in the United States“ (advisors: Professor Michael Minkenberg and Professor Hans Joas). He was a Research Fellow of the German Marshall Fund of the United States in 1997 and of the German Historical Institute in Washington, DC, in 1998. From 2000-2004 Dr. Grumke worked at the Bertelsmann Foundation, Gütersloh, and the Center for Democratic Culture, Berlin. From 2004-2012 he was a specialist on right-wing extremism at the Interior Ministry of the State of Nordrhein-Westfalen. Since 2005 Dr. Grumke is associate lecturer for political science at Heinrich-Heine-University Düsseldorf. Since 2012 he is professor of political science at the State University of Public Administration (Fachhochschule für öffentliche Verwaltung NRW). He is an author of various publications and articles on political extremism in German and English.

Mgr. Zsolt Gál, PhD.

Zsolt Gal is an Associate Professor at the Department of Political Science at the Faculty of Philosophy at Comenius University in Bratislava (since 2006). He graduated there in 2003 and continued his studies at Corvinus University in Budapest. He completed the postgradual International Relations program and defended his thesis at the Department of World Economy in 2008. His main areas of interest are international migration, domestic policy (Slovakia and Hungary), economic policy and the economic aspects of European integration. Mr. Gál is a lecturer of several courses in these fields at Comenius University. In the last few years he also quite frequently appeared in Hungarian and Slovak media explaining and commenting the situation in both countries. He is the author of several scientific studies and many more articles published in various newspapers.

Mgr.Radka Vicenová

Radka Vicenová received her master’s degree in Political Science at the Faculty of Philosophy at the Comenius University in Bratislava. During her studies she focused on the issue of extremism in Central and Eastern Europe. She has long-term experiences from the non-governmental sector. As a project manager she cooperated with the civic association People Against Racism on several research projects within Slovakia and international networks (RAXEN, INACH, ENAR), focused on the analysis of the far right and neo-Nazi groups in Slovak Republic. She also participated on various projects in cooperation with civic associations People in Peril and PDCS.


With support of the Open Society Foundations.