A serving Polish deputy defence minister has been accused of having links with pro-Kremlin far-right groups, after a German newspaper reported that he travelled to Moscow with a far-right delegation.
Bartosz Kownacki, a key lieutenant of defence minister Antoni Macierewicz, was a member of a group of Polish international observers during Russia’s 2012 election.
He was accompanied by Mateusz Piskorski, the founder of a Polish thinktank, the European Centre for Geopolitical Analysis (ECGA) who is now in detention in Poland, facing charges of spying for Moscow.
According to the Central Russian Election Commission, Kownacki was one
of four Polish representatives of “NGOs”, alongside Piskorski and
other figures connected to his think tank.
A leading member of Piskorski’s pro-Russia Zmiana (Change) party confirmed to Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) that Piskorski had made arrangements “on the Polish side” for Kownacki’s participation as an election observer.
Two years later, Piskorski was a member of a delegation to observe Crimea’s referendum to secede Ukraine – a vote which was described by the OSCE as illegal.
The FAZ report says that Kownacki also was involved alongside Piskorski in the far-right Alliance of European National Movements (AENM), a pan-European political group co-founded by far-right parties including Hungary’s Jobbik party and France’s Front National.
My report for the Guardian can be found here.