Shootout raises fears over Russian ties to Hungary’s far right

Financial Times reports: When plain-clothes police officers came to Istvan Gyorkos’s house early one morning in late October in search of illegal guns, the increasingly paranoid 76-year-old neo-Nazi barricaded himself in.

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A bloody shootout ensued and a police officer was shot dead. Mr Gyorkos has been taken into custody and faces possible charges.

With previous arrests and convictions for gun violations and hate crimes, the moustachioed founder of Hungary’s neo-Nazi National Front movement (MNA) was often pictured in military uniform. He was known nationally for his fascist political views and, in his home town of Bony, the MNA staged regular paramilitary drills in the muddy hills behind his house and even invited townspeople to watch.

What was less well known was the far-right militia’s multiple ties to Russian secret services. “We don’t believe this attack was a plot orchestrated by the Russian government,” said Peter Kreko, director of Political Capital, a Budapest think-tank. “But there are strong suspicions Mr Gyorkos was supported by Moscow.”

In the wake of the October shootout, the police last week raided nine properties, uncovering MNA weapons stockpiles far larger and more sophisticated than expected, although their provenance is unknown.

While Russian support for far-right groups in Europe has been widely rumoured, the recent events in Hungary have brought to light new evidence of Moscow’s long-running attempts to cultivate far-right extremists. [Continue reading…]

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