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Slovenski Branci


Introduction & Overview


Slovenski Branci (Slovak for “Slovakian Conscripts”) was a militia based in Slovakia which was founded in 2012 as a paramilitary training club. The organization was active in providing basic military training as well as catastrophe relief training to its members. The political background of some of its most prominent members and its international ties to Russian nationalist organizations have stirred controversy in the past few years. Just two months ago in October 2022, the group self-dissolved and publicly declared the cessation of all its activities.


History & Foundations The Slovenski Branci were founded in 2012 by Peter Švrček, who also became their leader. Švrček later took part in a military training camp organized by the Russian nationalist organization Narodny Sobor (1). The organization accepted members from different backgrounds, including students, current and former soldiers, policemen, professionals, etc (2). According to their website, Slovenski Branci are “a civic voluntary national militia formed by citizens of all social classes determined to work and act for the common good of our country and for lofty social aspirations through voluntary work, based on principles of national belonging and loyalty” (3).


The group started gaining popularity during 2014-2015, as a small group of members traveled to Eastern Ukraine to take part in the initial stages of the wider Ukrainian conflict (4) (after the Maiden revolution). At the time, the Slovensky Branci were not considered to be a source of potential concern, yet Slovak security services started observing the groups’ activities, and have even produced reports on their activity since 2017 (5).


In 2018, the Slovak ministry of defense established new regulations which effectively sanctioned any Slovak soldier found to be cooperating with paramilitary entities (6). It had previously emerged that members of the Slovakian armed forces had indeed cooperated with the Slovenski Branci (7).

Ideology & Objectives


Slovenski Branci always centered their movement around the organization and provision of training for its militiamen, although they also had wider political aspirations. For instance, they also portrayed themselves to be a Slovak nationalist organization, with open anti-NATO (8), Eurosceptic, Russophile and pan-Slavistic leanings (9). A general feeling of distrust in national institutions and into the general trend of corruption and inaction in conventional politics also played a role in producing a certain distrust towards the Slovak state (10).


Political & Military Abilities


The Slovenski Branci offered a variety of training programmes. These including fitness and topography courses, as well as medical training, engineering training, tactical and firearms training, and even basic CBRN operations (12). They also conducted regular exercises and organized eco-friendly clean-up operations (13).


The group was founded on the principles of military hierarchy, with members having defined ranks, and being assigned to units (14). The Slovenski Branci are believed to have owned a very limited amount of light weaponry (pistols and rifles), while most of their training sessions involved gun reproductions or airsoft models (15). The group is believed to have numbered between 200 and 300 members at its peak (16).


International Relations & Alliances


The organization had friendly relations and cooperated with Russian nationalist organizations, such as Narodny Sobor, Night Wolves (Kremlin-affiliated biker gang), and some of its members also fought on the pro-Russian side in Donbass (17).


It has been reported that, starting in 2016, the founder of the Slovenski Branci, Peter Švrček has often traveled to the Balkans, where he has established contacts with former Yugoslav military officers and has allegedly purchased Yugoslav military materials of undisclosed type and quantity (18). The group has had cordial relations with Croatian individuals interested in setting up a similar paramilitary in Croatia, and a Czech chapter was also established at some point (19).

Works Cited (Chicago-style)

(1) - Turcek, M. & Sabo, P. Slovenski Branci: a military hobby or armed threat?. In: Vsquare, 2019. https://vsquare.org/slovenski-branci-uniformed-fools-or-an-armed-threat/


(2) - Cfr. Luque-Peregrín, J. A. Recruits in Slovenskí Branci: Reasons for joining. In: International E-Journal of Criminal Sciences, 10, 14. 2019. pp. 1-23.


(3) - Slovenskí branci, About us. Retrieved from: https://domobrana-slovenskibranci.sk/DOMOBRANA.html (06/12/2022)


(4) - Cfr. Cuprik, R. Slovak extremists groups can produce rebels in Ukraine. In: The Slovak Spectator, 2015. https://spectator.sme.sk/c/20056340/slovak-extremists-groups-can-produce-rebels-in-ukraine.html


(5) - Brutovská, G. & Béreš, M. How do Revolting Young People Become Radicals – The Case of Slovakia. In: Athens Journal of Social Sciences, 9, 2, 2022. pp. 181-200.


(6) - Osvaldová, L. Gajdoš and the chief of staff dismiss the soldiers who are with the Slovenski Branci. In: Dennikn, 2018. https://dennikn.sk/1195860/gajdos-a-sef-armady-prepustia-vojakov-ktori-su-u-slovenskych-brancov/


(7) - Ibidem.


(8) - Cfr. Meseţnikov G. & Bránik R. Hatred, violence and comprehensive military training. The violent radicalisation and Kremlin connections of Slovak paramilitary, extremist and neo-Nazi groups. In: Political Capital - Studies, Budapest, 2017. p. 24.


(9) - Cfr. Luque-Peregrín, J. A. Recruits in Slovenskí Branci: Reasons for joining. Cit.


(10) - Ibidem.


(11) - Cfr. Brutovská, G. & Béreš, M. How do Revolting Young People Become Radicals – The Case of Slovakia. In: Athens Journal of Social Sciences, 9, 2, 2022. pp. 181-200.


(12) - Turcek, M. & Sabo, P. Slovenski Branci: a military hobby or armed threat?. Cit.


(13, 14, 15) - Ibidem.


(16) - Osvaldová, L. Gajdoš and the chief of staff dismiss the soldiers who are with the Slovenski Branci. Cit.


(17) - Ibidem.


(18) - Cfr. Meseţnikov G. & Bránik R. Hatred, violence and comprehensive military training. Cit. p. 25.


(19) - Ibidem.

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