Jacob Aasland Ravndal, Sofia Lygren, Anders Ravik Jupskås, and Tore Bjørgo

RTV Trend Report 2020: Right-Wing Terrorism and Violence in Western Europe, 1990 - 2019

C-REX - Center for Research on Extremism


Right-wing terrorism and violence (RTV) were on the agenda in many Western countries in 2019. The annual report from the Munich Security Conference, the world’s largest gathering of international security policy makers and analysts, presented “right-wing extremism” as a key issue alongside “space security,” “climate security” and “the technology race.” In an interview with the Washington Post, the secretary general of Interpol warned of a dramatic increase in right-wing terrorism globally. In many countries, the security services pointed to the growing threat of right-wing extremism. The main reason behind the increasing attention was an apparent emerging global trend of lone actor terrorists carrying out, or trying to carry out, mass-casualty attacks, inspired by the terrorist attacks in Christchurch, New Zealand, on 15 March 2019. Several similar attacks and plots took place across the globe in the subsequent months, including in the US (Poway and El Paso), Germany (Halle), Norway (Bærum) and the UK (Luton), though none were nearly as deadly as the one in Christchurch. Rather than being part of an organized transnational terrorist network, these lone actors seem to have been connected only by reputation, through online platforms in which perpetrators of mass killings are celebrated as heroes and role models, most notably 4chan/8chan and Telegram.