Putin’s Support for Europe’s Far-Right Just Turned Lethal

This week’s cop-killing by a Hungarian neo-Nazi reveals the Kremlin’s hidden hand

Western intelligence has known for some time that Vladimir Putin bankrolls significant elements of Europe’s far-right. Just as the KGB clandestinely supported Western left-wing radicals and terrorists during the Cold War, today the ideological tables have turned and now the Kremlin is backing militant right-wingers, who share much of Putinism’s nationalist and traditionalist worldview.

This is going on in numerous NATO countries, and one of the most prominent is Hungary, which possesses a powerful far-right political movement which boasts a militant and dangerous fringe. On Wednesday, in the village of Bőny in northwest Hungary, close to the border with Slovakia, officers from the National Bureau of Investigation, Hungary’s FBI, attempted to execute a search on an apartment that was believed to contain illegal weapons.

The weapons were reported to be in the hands of István Győrkös, a longtime far-right activist who was well known to the authorities for his radicalism. Involved in Hungary’s neo-Nazi scene since the waning days of Communist rule in the late 1980s, Győrkös had participated in a wide array of ultra-nationalist antics, some of them violent. Despite his advanced age of 75, police considered Győrkös to be potentially dangerous. Back in the early 1990s he spent a year in prison for disturbing the peace and possessing illegal weapons. More recently, he had run training camps around Bőny for neo-Nazis from both Hungary and Germany, where illegal weapons had been used, according to locals.

When police officers approached his door, Győrkös opened fire with an assault rifle, shooting two policemen at close range. One was wounded in the chest while the second, Péter Pálvölgyi, a 46-year-old major, was shot in the head and died almost immediately. Győrkös was eventually taken into custody with a gunshot to the back that penetrated his stomach. He is in the hospital and reported to be in stable condition.

Read the rest at The Observer