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Poland: Anti-Russian idiocy is getting stronger

Piotr Pytel, former head of Poland’s Military Counterintelligence Service. Photo: Holicin.livejournal.com

The latest events in Poland made it clear that anti-Russian hysteria coupled with spy mania has become the government policy.

The latest detention of Piotr Pytel, a former head of Poland’s Military Counterintelligence Service (SKW), at the request of the Prosecutor’s Office, has had an effect of information bomb. The detention was humiliating for the general also because a lieutenant with three gendarmes detained him early in the morning at home and took to Warsaw Prosecutor’s Office. Such morning raids in Poland are usually organized on apartments of gangsters, thieves and fancy men and often appear in the televised news reports.

Formally, the general was detained for not appearing before the Prosecutor’s Office after being summoned (though he was undergoing medical checkup and informed the prosecutor about it). Nevertheless, he was detained and faced “bigger charges.”

What happens is that the Prosecutor’s Office has been inquiring into the cooperation between the Military Counterintelligence Service and Russian Federal Security Service for several months already. These two special services launched cooperation immediately after the air plane crash near Smolensk that claimed the lives of 96 members of Polish delegation led by President Lech Kaczyński on April 10, 2010. The sides cooperated mainly to transport the Polish military returning from Afghanistan via the territory of Russia. Although the prime minister (then it was Donald Tusk, now president of the European Council) gave his consent to such cooperation in 2011, and in 2013 they even signed an official agreement, the investigation was launched basing on rather a severe article of the Criminal Code: “cooperation with special services of a foreign country without the required consent of the prime minister.” General Pytel and his predecessor were earlier accused of abusing power under the above article. Actually, the Prosecutor’s Office has new charges against him, but no details are provided for the secrecy of investigation.

The ruling National Conservative Party and anti-Russian Law and Justice Party this time use the anti-Russian card against Donald Tusk, the only potential rival.

So far, the Prosecutor’s Office summons him from Brussels to interrogate as a witness in that case, but it is no secret that the new government in Poland seeks to jail Tusk for “collaborating with Russia and assassinating President Lech Kaczyński” to put an end to his career. It is no secret for Tusk either. In response to the absurd allegations, Tusk backed the generals, calling them “a shining example of responsibility, patriotism and honor.”

However, Warsaw does not care for Tusk’s opinion, as it is currently guided by National Defense Minister Antoni Macierewicz, an outspoken Russophobe, who is obsessed with trying to find “Moscow’s hand” in the Smolensk tragedy and has made it a political platform. It was Macierewicz who introduced the wording “Smolensk villainy.”

During the last few years, he has been speaking about the Smolensk tragedy in the following way: “Approved by Tusk’s government, Russia has created a pyramid of lie, deliberately destroying and hiding the plane wreckage, manipulating the black boxes and other evidences. How can one call the situation in which the elite is killed and the nation is left without leadership? This is declaration of war by Russia even if the attack comes in a year, two or five years. We must be aware that it is declaration of war!”

Macierewicz reacted to the detention of generals with quite load statements: "This is about fully conscious and illegal cooperation with Russian spies, about the worst type of betrayal a Pole can commit."

Another Russophobic action by the Polish government was the latest trial against a young lawyer having dual citizenship, Polish and Russian. The lawyer is charged with espionage for Russia. The trial is over, but the court of second instance has increased the sentence from four to seven years of imprisonment. Very few details of the case have been made public, but it was enough to see the absurdness of allegations and assess the reality. The young man is accused of “threatening the state interests of Poland, mostly in the energy security field.” How?

He collected information on Poland’s energy sector, Świnoujście LNG terminal. His “criminal sins” are nothing but a PhD thesis on the gas market of Poland and Russia, work at a Warsaw-based law firm, participation in conferences and discussions on energy, efforts to undergo internship at the economy ministry.

The most terrible thing is that “he prepared characteristics of Polish journalists and experts in the field of energy in the context of their perceptiveness to Russia’s influence and their possible involvement in the Russian information campaign in the energy field. Afterwards, he undertook steps to promote Russia’s viewpoint in energy sector. He inspired an article criticizing Poland’s foreign and energy policy ‘Ukrainian cold, Polish flu.’” [the article was published by the author on a news website].

Poland’s government uses the special services to remove the people with “wrong views,” especially those who contribute to the development of the Polish-Russian ties and oppose the anti-Russian hysteria, from the public and political life of the country.

Mateusz Piskorski, a 40-year-old politician, journalist and political analyst has been kept at a pre-trial detention facility for already 1,5-year. There isn’t even the smell of trial in his case. Piskorski was detained by the Domestic Security Agency on suspicion of espionage.

As Polish parliamentarian for the Self-Defense Party and outspoken critic of the government, Piskoriski has never concealed his pro-Russian views. He collaborated with Moscow-based media outlets, commenting on international and domestic events. He used to criticize harshly the pro-American and anti-Russian policy of the Polish government of the recent years. He risked travelling to Crimea leading an international observation mission to the referendum and openly hailed the voting meeting democratic standards. He called the “new” Ukraine an “ideologically Banderite mutant.”

Warsaw could not tolerate the founder and leader of the first pro-Russian party in Poland. Zmiana (“Change”) Party openly declared itself the only non-American party and blamed the ruling forces for traveling to Washington for instructions and losing their sovereignty. The government could not tolerate the party’s program saying that “deployment of U.S. troops in Poland is equivalent to invading the country without a single shot.”

There is a story very similar to the one of Piskorski. Leonid Sviridov, a Russia Today correspondent, had to leave Poland amid international diplomatic scandal after living more than 10 years in Warsaw. Like Piskorski, he faced espionage allegations. The procedures on depriving the journalist of his accreditation and residence visa were kept secret and neither the detainee nor his lawyer had access to the collected materials.

The latest victim to “the hunters of Russian spies” is professor Dmitry Karnaukhov who was invited to teach at the most prestigious Warsaw universities. He launched cooperation with the research centers in Novosibirsk and popularized Poland, its history and culture in his home city Novosibirsk. He regularly organized Polish Science Days in Novosibirsk, represented the Russian Institute of Strategic Studies in Poland and actively participated in the Polish-Russian scientific projects and programs.

Suddenly, a scientist having so many achievements and sympathies to Poland was bluntly expelled from the country a few weeks ago. Agency of Domestic Security has arrived at a decision that Karnaukhov “acted against state interests of Poland, initiated elements of hybrid war against Poland as well as supported contacts with Russian special services using his ties with local scientists and journalists to promote Russia’s stance.”

Here is one more example of outrage by the Polish government. A Russian historian tells about how he was deported from Poland. “Polish special service officers came to my house in the evening, handcuffed me and took to the police office by a car without a number plate. I had to spent night in the cell with criminals. They deported me to Russia in the morning, though all my belongings and archive remained in Poland. They brought no charges against me, no proof, no document saying that all the facts proving my guilt are classified. Moreover, I did not communicate with representatives of the Polish special services who prepared a relevant dossier on me. They did not talk to me. Nor have they brought any proofs in Polish mass media that have published the same statement with insignificant changes for many times. Therefore, I have arrived at a conclusion that it was a provocation against me and the country I represent.”

Judging from the latest actions by the Polish government, the anti-Russian hysteria in Poland has come to the peak and every contact with Russia and its official representatives becomes suspicious and even dangerous. The present-day Poland has returned to the absurdities of the McCarthy years.

Alexander Shtorm from Warsaw for EADaily

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