VDD warns about the increasing risks posed by right-wing extremism

Latvian State Security Service (VDD) warns about the trend of increasing right-wing extremism risks in society, especially among youth.

Last weekend, the State Police in cooperation with VDD detained several representatives of the so-called skinhead sub-culture, on suspicion of publicly glorifying genocide, crimes against humanity, crimes against peace and war crimes committed by the Nazi Germany, as well as on suspicion of commission of activities aimed at triggering racial hatred. The information obtained within investigation showed, that the detained persons had used physical violence against other individuals under the influence of radical views.

 "Already last year we identified an increase in the number of young people who show strong interest in the right-wing extremism ideologies and share their views on social networking sites and communication platforms, especially "Telegram", as they try to find like-minded peers in both Latvia and abroad," says the Director General of VDD Normunds Mežviets. "Although currently the threat posed by such persons to the democratic order of our state is assessed as low, the trend of the growing number of supporters of right-wing extremism poses risks to the public safety. In order to prevent the spread of right-wing extremism in our society, VDD has enhanced the preventive measures to identify and avert the potential cases of radicalization."

VDD assesses that this trend is related to the increase of immigrants of other races in Latvia, who are targeted by the right-wing extremists. VDD warns that increasing popularity of right-wing extremism among youth can potentially lead to increase in the number of violent attacks against people of different race.

VDD reiterates that on 11 July, 2023, the Service initiated a criminal case against a person, who had turned to right-wing extremism, on suspicion of publicly justifying terrorism, self-training, as well as recruiting and training other persons for terrorism. During the investigation VDD established that the person inspires from such right-wing extremists as Anders Behring Breivik and Brenton Tarrant, whose terror acts resulted in a large number of deaths.

Since last year, VDD has strengthened the measures to prevent the spreading of right- and left-wing extremism. VDD also cooperates with the State Police in identifying the supporters of violent extremism. Since youth are among the radicalization risk groups, this year VDD officials have already visited several hundred education institutions of Latvia, briefing their administrations and social pedagogues about the signs and risks of youth radicalization. In the near future VDD is planning to hold briefings about signs of adhering to right- or left-wing extremism to several state institutions, whose daily work is related to groups of society subject to radicalization risks, including prisoners and persons with mental health issues.

To identify cases of radicalization, VDD is constantly evaluating the content of social networking sites. This year VDD has already held preventive talks with several persons demonstrating signs of radicalization, as well as persons connected to them. VDD has warned these persons about the underlying criminal liability for the commission of the crimes.

To inform wider public, this year VDD has prepared two informative materials – about the characteristics and symbols typical to right- and left-wing extremism supporters.

In case you notice signs of radicalization in someone, VDD recommends starting with a calm conversation about the possible reasons for the changes in behavior or appearance of that person. If the person’s statements increase your suspicion about possible radicalization, you can encourage the person to talk to a psychologist or social worker. However, if the person is uncooperative and demonstrates increased aggression, inform VDD immediately. You can reach VDD by calling the 24/7 phone +371 6720 8964 or writing to e-mail .

Information prepared by VDD
Illustrative photo, VDD