The Piskorski Signal: Russia must defend its political allies from Western repression


March 16, 2017 – Fort Russ News – 
Artem Buzila, Vzglyad – translated by J. Arnoldski –

I’ve always treated news on the arrest of a politician, journalist, or public figure, or even just a criminal, purely professionally. An arrest means having to write a news blurb, or maybe a column or an article, and gathering experts’ comments. This is an information-filled agenda for at least a few days. If a case is particularly loud, you have to highlight the progress of the investigation and trial. In general, this is a fairly standard procedure.

But after my own arrest and almost a year spent behind bars, you necessarily let such news of arrests get to you. Such news is not simply summative reports, but something like a chain of moments experienced on one’s own skin and who someone else now has to go through.

A person is arrested, he’s searched, then taken for questioning to investigative authorities. Then to the detention center. Then, if you’re not lucky enough to get out on house arrest or bail, a long process of litigation. Endless, agonizing days locked behind bars where the line between a bad dream and reality, between truth and lies, fades.

When I was arrested in April 2015 in Odessa on charges of separatism, the famous Polish political scientist and leader of the political party Zmiana (“Change”), Mateusz Piskorski, within just a few days had already condemned my arrest and called what was happening in Ukraine a flagrant violation of freedom of speech and human rights.

The author, Artem Buzila, at his hearing

Mateusz Piskorski being escorted to his 5th hearing on March 15th, 2017

Now I’m on the outside, but on May 18th, 2016, Polish special services arrested Mateusz on accusations of espionage. Of course, espionage for Russia. On May 20th, a district court in Warsaw granted the investigation petition and sent the politician off to three months in prison…[10 months later, Mateusz Piskorski is still in prison on no official charges – JA]. He is threatened with up to 10 years of imprisonment. 

Today, I cannot but perform my duty as a journalist and citizen and call for the immediate release of this man. Mateusz’s arrest is savagery, lawlessness, and muddy trampling on all of Polish and European democracy. I have not seen the materials of the criminal proceedings, or the indictment [there is none officially – JA], but I can guess that nothing is lost, as Ukrainian and Polish special services seem to be identical and competing with one another in the degree of similarity between their allegations and the plot of a cheap detective novel.

Let me remind you that Piskorski is a rather famous person in Poland, once a deputy for the Self-Defense Party. But you would hardly call him a politician.

Piskorski’s current party, Zmiana, is not numerous and does not have representation in parliament or even official registration. In fact, besides louder but not so numerous rallies, the party has yet to distinguish itself. But this situation, of course, could change with receiving official legalization, but I do not think this will happen so radically and so fast. 

Nevertheless, Piskorski’s arrest is a signal. A signal that not only Polish, but European “law enforcement” in general are no longer ceremonious. And I don’t mean with those who play the traditional paradigm of power with government-opposition/right-left. One could easily raise the issue of the authoritarian policies of the ruling Law and Justice Party in Poland which is being criticized on the highest level in the European Union. 

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But the point is not that Piskorski criticized President Andrzej Duda or Prime Minister Beata Szydlo. The point is from what positions he criticized them.

Mateusz Piskorski in Katyn at a Russian-Polish reconciliation initiative

Piskorski, like other Eurosceptic politicians, actually questions the basic tenets of currently “united” Europe, such as the worship of liberal ideology, nihilism towards traditional values, and the question of respect for the Communist past. 

In the political field, this also manifests itself quite unambiguously in Euroscepticism, striving to get out from under the heal of the United States, desiring an independent foreign policy, a moderate and sometimes open attitude towards Russia, and criticizing what is happening in Ukraine.

Law enforcement authorities in Western countries have quite unceremoniously opened criminal cases against such people, threatening them with future trouble and arresting them.

Mateusz is not the only one in trouble. For example, Marine Le Pen from France’s National Front is accused of violating transparency of party funding, while the Bulgarian Volen Siderov from Ataka is being judged for slander and disorderly conduct.

But this Polish “friend of Russia” is being served even tougher: they’re slapping him with no less than espionage.

In European capitals and the US, the situation with Piskorski is ignored, and people pretend like nothing happened. I suppose that if someone from the Polish public or political elite were arrested on suspicion of espionage for Washington, even if a more modest figure than Piskorski, a reaction would follow immediately. But no one has even expressed “concern.”

Piskorski’s example clearly shows how tough the collective West is behaving in suppressing those who are ready to offer voters an alternative to the current Russophobic agenda. Politics is now becoming a risky business for them.

The West is now openly willing to turn a blind eye to the violation of its own rules and standards, not in some Third World country where its satellites rule, but in its own home if these rules and standards don’t match the general geopolitical line.

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Russia should prepare for having to defend its political allies – diplomatically, legally, and informationally. Indeed, this is already a full-fledged Cold War 2.0. And when at war do as at war. 

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