Given the substan tial atten tion paid to the topic of racist extrem ism in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), and the often bold asser tions made in the (Western) media and academic liter at ure, one would expect the topic to be at the fore front of academic and journ al istic interest. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Indeed, as one of the few academic schol ars in the field, Michael Minkenberg, has noted, “Studying the radical right in trans form a tion coun tries in Central and Eastern Europe not only resembles shoot ing at a moving target but also shoot ing with clouded vision.”1 There is a poignant lack of reli able inform a tion on racist extrem ism in the region, both academic and nonaca demic, and I hope that this article, and the volume upon which it is partly based,2 will not be the last attempt to fill this void. Obviously, the two key terms in this article are not without prob lems. The defin i tion of
racist extrem ism that is employed in this study is “organ ized discrim in a tion or viol ence against persons belong ing to another national/ethnic, reli gious or linguistic group in society and/or speech that incites or condones such beha vior.”3 The geograph ical descrip tion CEE here refers to the post-commun ist states that either joined the European Union in 2004 or will do so in (prob ably) 2007: Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia. The aim of this article is threefold: (1) to provide a compar at ive summary of racist
extrem ism in CEE,4 (2) to compare the situ ation of racist extrem ism in CEE to that in Western Europe, and (3) to come to some further insights about racist extrem ism in the region.