Far-Right vigilantes and crime: law and order providers or common criminals?
Why are far-right vigilante groups frequently involved in purely criminal activities, despite their public presentation as bastions of law and order?
The extant literature claims that vigilante groups protect the traditional societal order by taking the law into their own hands. Vigilantes target entire categories of ‘others’ to prevent and punish their alleged criminality or norm-breaking. These activities are often connected with far-right political movements. However, the literature fails to explain why far-right vigilante groups are frequently involved in purely criminal activities (like extortion or robbery), despite their public presentation as bastions of law and order. This text provides a tentative theory of the political-criminal convergence in political violence under the disguise of community protection against crime and norm-breaking. This theory is demonstrated through the cases of Russia (Russian National Unity), Greece (Golden Dawn), and Ukraine (Azov movement).