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Former GOP leader’s son allegedly sought affiliation with hate group that recruits military members

victor kravric.jpg
KPBS Staff
A screenshot from Victor Krvaric's Instagram page shows him in full military gear, with his upper body sticking out from a tank in this undated image.

Victor Kvaric's alleged attempt to join Patriot Front is part of a larger trend.

The white supremacist group that allegedly attracted Victor Krvaric, a Marine reservist and son of former San Diego County GOP Chairman Tony Krvaric, has a violent past and a penchant for recruiting members of the military, according to experts.

The U.S. Marine Corps. opened an inquiry last week into whether Victor Krvaric had applied to be a member of Patriot Front. The probe followed a Twitter thread by activists with The Activated Podcast that identified the younger Krvaric as a Patriot Front prospect.

Patriot Front is a reboot of the hate group Vanguard America, which was part of the deadly “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Va. in 2017, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. A woman was killed and 19 people were injured after a man rammed his car into a group of peaceful protesters at the rally.

Brian Levin, director of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at Cal State San Bernardino, called the Patriot Front the “public face” of white nationalism.

“They are the worst of the worst,” Levin said. “And there's no way that someone who is a Marine should be involved in this because it violates their oath to uphold the Constitution.”

Twenty percent of Patriot Front’s members claim military ties, according to the group’s leaked private chats that were published by the nonprofit media organization Unicorn Riot.

Levin said Patriot Front heavily recruits current or past service members because they’re often disgruntled and know how to use weapons. He added that reservists like Victor Krvaric are especially appealing because they can go home at the end of the day and dwell in “echo chambers of hate” without fellow platoon members noticing.

Victor Krvaric did not respond to a KPBS request for comment.

Marines investigate former GOP chair's son for white supremacy ties

Levin said Patriot Front and other extremists recruit through “papering” areas where military people are known to congregate with fliers, stickers and online propaganda.

“These groups either try to find geographic terrestrial spaces or virtual spaces to reach out to people who they think might be susceptible to their message and also have a background in military skills and access to weaponry,” Levin said.

The probe into Victor Krvaric comes nearly two years after KPBS reported on a 1990s video involving Tony Krvaric that featured Nazi imagery. Tony Krvaric never denied participating in the video, nor did he disavow appearing alongside a bobbing Hitler, a Nazi salute and a swastika.

Levin said the younger Krvaric’s alleged racist leanings could be a case of the apple falling not far from the tree.

“But the bottom line is one of the things I think is so interesting is how the line between extremism and politics has collapsed,” he said.