Putin’s Falanga: meet the Polish neo-fascists who tried to burn down a Hungarian center in Ukraine

Falanga activists

Falanga activists 

News, Ukraine

Article by: Olena Babakova

Citizens of the European Union perpetrating provocations (or even terrorist acts) against other EU countries in Ukraine? A month ago such an assertion would have been totally absurd, but now it has become a reality.

A few days ago, the Polish Homeland Security Agency announced the arrest of three men suspected of committing arson attacks on the Hungarian Cultural Society office in Uzhhorod on 4 February 2018. The arrest wasfa coordinated with the Ukrainian SBU. Two men – who were identified among the arsonists – were sentenced to three months; another was released under police surveillance. Investigators are currently examining international contacts related to these suspects.

Hungarian Cultural Centre in Uzhhorod. Photo: Serhiy Knyazev FB

Hungarian Cultural Centre in Uzhhorod. Photo: Serhiy Knyazev FB

The fact that the provocateurs, who threw a Molotov cocktail into the building, are foreigners was revealed shortly after the arson attack, just adding fuel to fire in current disputes between Ukraine and Hungary.

The Governor of Zakarpattia Oblast, Hennadiy Moskal, stated that citizens of an EU country were involved in this case, and announced their names on February 21: 21-year-old Adrian Marglewski from Krakow and 25-year-old Tomasz Rafal Szimkowiak from Bydgoszcz. Both are members of the right-wing radical neo-fascist organization Falanga, which stridently proclaims its support of the so-called “DNR/LNR” immediately after the start of Russian aggression in the Donbas.

Adrian Marglewski (left) and Tomasz Rafal Szimkowiak (right). Photo: novynarnia.com

Adrian Marglewski (left) and Tomasz Rafal Szimkowiak (right). Photo: novynarnia.com

More: Polish pro-Russian far-right radicals behind arson attempt of Hungarian center in Ukraine

Falanga-ONR was a small Polish political nationalist organization of the 1930s. Today, its followers march under such slogans as: “A strong nation and a powerful country!” and “Great Catholic Poland.”

They also publicly profess their admiration for Putin’s Russia.

Falanga positions itself as a group that is in favor of creating an alternative to “Euro-Atlantic subjugation” of Poland. Its media resource – X-portal – calls on members to fight against “American imperialism” and the “Zionist diktat” and support countries suffering from conflicts initiated by the United States and Israel.

In the inter-war years, Falanga was strongly opposed to Polish leftist movements, but it seems that today’s Falanga organization has embraced leftist ideology – it has many connections with the Polish pro-Kremlin party Zmiana (Change), which professes an ultra-leftist ideology. These two Polish political parties – Falanga and Zmiana – which actually belong to opposing ideological camps, are united in their extreme anti-Americanism and unwavering support for Putin’s tough stance.

The leader of the Falanga organization and editor-in-chief of the X-portal, is Bartosz Bekier, a young political science graduate, Putin sympathizer and opponent of NATO, who proudly flaunts the Russian St. George ribbon, and tries to frighten his countrymen with lurid tales of Ukrainian “banderites”. He claims that he is employed as an “independent journalist”, supposedly working to “counterbalance pro-American discourse that prevails in the Polish media”. In 2013, Bekier was invited by the government of Bashar al-Assad to visit Syria, and in February 2014, he was at the Maidan in Kyiv, where he searched for portraits of Stepan Bandera.

Bekier is interviewing "DNR" leader Denis Pushilin, Donetsk, May 2014. Photo: anton-shekhovtsov.blogspot.com

Bekier is interviewing “DNR” leader Denis Pushilin, Donetsk, May 2014. Photo: anton-shekhovtsov.blogspot.com

However, Bekier’s greatest claim to fame might have occurred in the summer of 2014, when he traveled to the Donbas where he recorded interviews with the leaders of the so-called “DNR,” and hosted a panel on national revolutions. During a separatist rally in Donetsk in the summer of 2014, Bartosz Bekier spoke the following words:

“I’m not a representative of the Polish Atlantic Council. I represent the Polish people who oppose the presence of NATO terrorists in Poland.”

Several other Falanga members accompanied Bekier during his visit to Eastern Ukraine.

Dariusz Lemanski

Dariusz Lemanski

One of them – Dariusz Lemanski – is wanted by Poland’s prosecutor’s office for participating in illegal foreign armed groups. However, Lemanski and another Falanga follower – Dawid Hudziec – have left Poland.

In August 2014, Bekier led a Falanga rally with “DNR” and “LNR” flags before the Ukrainian Embassy in Warsaw, protesting against “Jewish fascism” in power in Kyiv, and called on Polish citizens to protect the “Novorossiya community” from Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko. In October 2014, Ukrainian border guards banned several Falanga representatives from entering Ukraine for three years.

Bekier then bragged about the ban on Facebook, posted his passport photo and the stamp, and added the following remark:

“I wonder what will last longer – this ban or President Poroshenko?”

Later, X-portal announced that Ukrainian authorities were drawing up a blacklist of people that do not share “Kyiv’s official propaganda ideology” regarding the conflict in the Donbas.

X-portal continues to track events in Ukraine.

In their publications, Falangists make direct parallels between the 1943-44 events in Volyn and Kyiv’s policy in the Donbas, calling Ukraine’s Anti-Terrorist Operation (ATO) a “genocide.”

The Falangists do not limit their attacks to Internet publications.

In fact, they are intent on building up feelings of anger and hostility, adding fuel to fire in the dispute between Ukraine and Poland.

Falanga demonstration together with Zmiana

Falanga demonstration together with Zmiana

In order to protect Poland from “possible aggressive actions by banderites,” in the summer of 2015 Falanga announced the creation of militarized patrols in Southeastern Poland, which would guard the border from “night-time banderite raids.” Although a video posted on the Internet confirms that Polish law was violated – since ordinary citizens cannot arbitrarily act as border guards or other law enforcement agencies – the Falanga participants have never been bothered by the police or placed under arrest.

In addition, Bekier even acted as deputy of Zmiana’s leader Mateusz Piskorski, who was detained on suspicion of spying for Russia.

Tadeusz Isakovich-Zaleski

Tadeusz Isakovich-Zaleski

Falanga has other interesting personal contacts. Last year, a well-known “anti-banderite” priest Tadeusz Isakovich-Zaleski organized a remembrance day in Krakow for Polish genocide victims of Kresy Wschodnie*, and invited Bekier to be a member of the honorary committee for this event. Members of the committee included First Deputy Minister of Justice Patryk Jaki and rapper Maciej Ptak (Bird) Ptasznik, composer of such hits as Kosovo is Serbian and The Despicable Police!

*Eastern part of the Second Polish Republic during the interwar period constituting nearly half of the territory of the state. Today, these territories are divided between Western Ukraine, Western Belarus, and South-eastern Lithuania-Ed.

Falanga is also interested in organizing other events, and not just rallies and historical battle reenactments.

In 2016, Falanga leaders expressed their interest in becoming part of the Territorial Defense Forces that Poland decided to set up to counteract Russian threats.

These units were to include the Krakowska jednostka strzelecka (Riflemen’s Association), which has about 80 members, of which twelve are Falanga members or have close ties to Zmiana. In fact, in the summer of 2016, the co-founder of the association, Michał Prokopowicz, participated in a rally against the NATO summit being held in Warsaw.

falanga

Michał Prokopowicz leads Falanga during an anti-NATO march in Warsaw. 13.11.2017, photo: xportal.pl

The “Riflemen” even managed to take part in NATO’s Anaconda exercises, but after it was publicly reported in the media, the Polish Ministry of Defense decided to curtail cooperation with this organization.

Today, this pro-Kremlin organization in Poland has extended its activities to neighboring countries. The participation of Falanga members in the arson attacks on the Hungarian Cultural Society office in Uzhhorod opens a new page in the long history of provocations committed against national minorities or foreign diplomatic missions in Ukraine.

If earlier the Ukrainian government’s statements about the “Kremlin trail” were perceived by many as an excuse, then today the reputation of the Falanga group points to the fact that the group might have received direct orders from Moscow.

There is enough evidence for a very dangerous tendency. In order to alienate Kyiv from its western neighbors, Moscow would use resources available in Ukraine and attract citizens from other countries to act on the Kremlin’s behalf.

Why did the Kremlin decide to use Polish citizens for provocations in Uzhhorod?

Dariusz Materniak, an editor of polukr.net, noted that the attack might have targeted Polish-Hungarian relations, which have recently grown much friendlier.

“It’s quite possible that the attack was a kind of ‘brotherly assistance’ offered by the Poles to their Hungarian brothers, who are so ‘oppressed by this banderite government.’ But, we shouldn’t rule out the side effects of such an attack, namely deterioration of Polish-Ukrainian relations.”

Whether it was intentional or not, the attack in Uzhhorod is bound to increase tensions between Ukraine and Poland.

It would be more than enough for Ukraine to start using the Uzhhorod incident as an argument in a public dialogue with Warsaw to heighten tension between the two countries. Such a strategy would be fully in line with the expectations of the organizers of the Uzhhorod attack, and may be an excuse for new provocations. Therefore, both Polish and Ukrainian politicians should pay attention and be careful about what they say.

Unfortunately, we can expect no changes on the Hungarian side.

The prompt investigation of the arson attack has not defused the tense atmosphere between Kyiv and Budapest. Immediately after Ukraine announced the arrest of the Polish arsonists, yet another arson attack was launched against the Hungarian Society on February 27. Despite several arrests in Poland, Budapest continues to blame Kyiv for the attacks.

Hungarians prefer to ignore the arsonists’ obvious ties with Moscow

At first, the representatives of the Hungarian Society announced that their office had not been attacked by Ukrainians, but after two days, they changed their statement. On February 28, they declared that it was namely the anti-Hungarian campaign in Ukraine that had led to the terrorist attack in Uzhhorod. And not a word about Russia!

Therefore, we cannot expect Viktor Orban to stop pressuring Ukraine even if there is a full and objective investigation of these events.

UPDATE

On March 4, the chief of the National Police, Serhiy Knyazev announced that the police had detained three people involved in an attack on the Hungarian Cultural Centre on February 27. One of them was detained in Cherkasy, another two were detained in Kropyvnytsky. In addition, the possible organizer of the attacks, a foreign citizen, was identified and put on the wanted list.

babakova

Olena Babakova is a journalist living in Warsaw, Poland.

 

 

 

 

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Translated by: Christine Chraibi
Source: Yevropeiska Pravda

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  • jack dunster

    This leads you to wonder, the current Polish government, who do they work for – they are doing their best to isolate Poland from the world, they demand reparations from Germany – an allied nation and neighbour and chief trading partner, they attack the Eu at every turn. They attack fellow NATO countries and allied neighbours suck as Ukraine and Lithuania… they are busily recreating the Polish People’s Republic in the politicization of the courts and in the visible propaganda, and as in the PPR, the actual leader of the country is not the president, but the party leader. So who do they work for? One answer, Putin.

    • laker48

      You’re totally misguided and may wake up one morning with your hand in the night pot under your bed. The game is on the strategic level and the Trump administration has eventually woken up to the the dilemma that the US may be squeezed out of Europe by France, Germany and RuSSia or stay there and maintain the status of a global power by taking advantage of historic weaknesses the said France, Germany and RuSSia, and team up with and support of the Polish-led Visegrad Group and the Three Seas Initiative that will eventually create a “Chinese Wall” spanning from the Baltic to the Adriatic and Black Seas, physically separating France and Germany in the west and RuSSia in the east.

      Poland, Romania and Croatia are the key states in this US game, while irreformable Ukraine will likely see a paradigm change after the 2019 parliamentary and presidential elections, where German-RuSSian SOBs will be replaced by American SOBs with US bit*h Yulia the Gas Princess at the helm. The Yanks are quite comfortable with the illegal annexation and occupation of Crimea by RuSSia and the RuSSian hybrid invasion of Donbas, as these create bona fide conditions that justify maintaining and, if a need arises, slapping new sanctions on the fascist RuSSian Federation and all Western corporations participating in any RuSSian oil and gas projects, the Nord Stream 2 including. Ukraine is a pawn in this game, courtesy of the Poroshenko kleptocracy.

      • MichaelA

        keep trying misha

        • laker48

          Misza, nie szczekaj! Kacapskie kundle nie mają głosu. :)

          • MichaelA

            thanks for the google translate but i still dont think youre polish
            and your post above is just weird

          • laker48

            Misza, nie wpadło ci do głupiej łepetyny, że ktoś się może swobodnie wypowiadać po polsku i angielsku? Jesteś w miarę inteligentnym i ponad miarę aroganckim dzieciakiem. W sumie mam niezły ubaw drocząc się z tobą, Misza.

          • MichaelA

            and yet more google translate
            cut and pasted
            and your post above is still weird

          • laker48

            If you don’t know the Polish language or know someone who can translate my posts properly, Google translator will confuse you, as I use phrases and colloquialisms only an educated native speaker of Polish can understand. I have double fun while teasing you, because most Ukrainian posters are fluent in Polish, some of I’ve already blocked, and are fuming with foam in their mouths.

          • MichaelA

            why would i use google translate?
            that is what you are doing
            you arent teasing me because i have no idea what you are writing and dont care
            but I see no reason to think you are are polish
            as for fuming with foam in their mouths that sounds like a projection
            but go right ahead and block
            it means you no longer get to reply while everyone else can see what i write
            so we both know you wont do that ;o)

          • laker48

            So you’re blocked. Good bye!

          • MichaelA

            goodbye indeed
            now you wont have to reply to any of my posts
            which i am sure will make us both happy
            ;o)

    • MichaelA

      in this case polish government did well
      their secret service worked together with the ukrainian secret service to nail these putin activists who pretended to be polish patriots

  • jack dunster

    This leads you to wonder, the current Polish government, who do they work for – they are doing their best to isolate Poland from the world, they demand reparations from Germany – an allied nation and neighbour and chief trading partner, they attack the Eu at every turn. They attack fellow NATO countries and allied neighbours suck as Ukraine and Lithuania… they are busily recreating the Polish People’s Republic in the politicization of the courts and in the visible propaganda, and as in the PPR, the actual leader of the country is not the president, but the party leader. So who do they work for? One answer, Putin.

  • Ihor Dawydiak

    So what can we deduce from the statements and actions of these and other hare brained extremists who claim to be either ultra nationalists and/or populists and are also identified as being either communists or fascists? Whether it is their intent to or not they also espouse imperialism (and in many cases support Russian imperialism) or if they do not support Putin directly, they are still indirectly trying to create divisions in Eastern Europe and as such they are aiding and abetting Putin in his plans to divide and conquer. In addition, these same war mongers take great pride in totally rejecting the recent rapprochement between the Polish and Ukrainian Governments where they have advocated the policy to “forgive and to ask for forgiveness” in regards to past transgressions. This was also a policy that was strongly advocated by the late Pope John Paul II. As such, it can only be hoped that the people of Eastern Europe will never forget the major follies in their own histories and reject the ugly face of extremism as that is a road to self destruction.

  • Ihor Dawydiak

    So what can we deduce from the statements and actions of these and other hare brained extremists who claim to be either ultra nationalists and/or populists and are also identified as being either communists or fascists? Whether it is their intent to or not they also espouse imperialism (and in many cases support Russian imperialism) or if they do not support Putin directly, they are still indirectly trying to create divisions in Eastern Europe and as such they are aiding and abetting Putin in his plans to divide and conquer. In addition, these same war mongers take great pride in totally rejecting the recent rapprochement between the Polish and Ukrainian Governments where they have advocated the policy to “forgive and to ask for forgiveness” in regards to past transgressions. This was also a policy that was strongly advocated by the late Pope John Paul II. As such, it can only be hoped that the people of Eastern Europe will never forget the major follies in their own histories and reject the ugly face of extremism as that is a road to self destruction.

  • zorbatheturk

    Time for antifa action. A bunch of anarchist skinhead antifa kickboxers need to start busting Putinoid skulls.

    • Quartermaster

      Antifa are a bunch of Fascists themselves.

      • zorbatheturk

        They do some good at times.

        • Quartermaster

          Here in the states they’re nothing more than a bunch of cowardly thugs.

  • zorbatheturk

    Time for antifa action. A bunch of anarchist skinhead antifa kickboxers need to start busting Putinoid skulls.

  • Nikoli

    It is well known that the Kremlin supports all sorts of groups around the world in an attempt to destabilize democratic progress. The more radical and pro-Kremlin the better support they get.

    Do these countries believe they will be better-off being beholding to the Kremlin?

    The Kremlin can’t improve the lives of its own citizen but knows what is better for everyone else?

    Strange winds are blowing and everyone needs to take care not to get indifferent.

  • Quartermaster

    As neo-Fascists they did not have to adopt leftist doctrines. Fascists are already leftists.

    • laker48

      The Fascists are right-wing, while the Nazis are leftists (Nationalsozialismus).

      • MichaelA

        keep trying to deflect misha

        • laker48

          Talking to yourself, Misha? Do you realise the enormity of your idiocy and arrogance, Misha?

          • Quartermaster

            Too bad you don’t know the extent of your towering ignorance.

          • laker48

            I’m not sure why you lower yourself to the level of Poroshenko trolls and sycophants MichaelA and Alex George.

          • Quartermaster

            Bandera was a Ukrainian nationalist who used anything at hand in his attempt to free Ukraine from the Russian thumb. Yeah, he did some bad stuff, no doubt about it. But the Soviets had him killed because of what he was to Ukraine, and not because he was a “Nazi war criminal.”

            There is no indication that either of the people you accuse of being Poroshenko trolls are anything of the sort.

          • MichaelA

            no i am talking to you
            and i call you misha because you are a putin troll who pretends to be polish

          • laker48

            Misza, a kuku :)!

          • MichaelA

            thank you for cut and paste from google translate

          • laker48

            Misza, specjalnie ci podsyłam slangowe wyrażenia, aby Google translator ci tego nie przetłumaczył, matole jeden.

          • MichaelA

            thank you for cut and paste from google translate

      • Quartermaster

        Your ignorance is showing. Fascism, National Socialism and Communism are all kissing cousins on the left. They are very close to each other on the left. The far right is anarchy.

        • laker48

          Well, look up! https://www.britannica.com/topic/fascism
          You’re a living example that US schools are worth next to nothing as far as teaching history and social science is concerned.

          • Quartermaster

            I am well aware of what Britannica says, and they have been grinding their idiotic axes for years. They are not just wrong, but they are idiotically wrong and have been ignoring the definition of such things for years. The spectrum goes from left to right, Statism to no government at all. The founders of the US set themselves precisely in the middle at ordered liberty. Communism, socialism, Fascism are all to the right of the US Founders, while on the right it moves towards complete anarchy, or no government at all.

            I’m sorry you were so poorly educated, but that’s your problem, not mine.

          • laker48

            LOL! You’re free to march to your own drum and believe in whatever you want. The US is a free country.

          • Quartermaster

            Whatever floats your boat. You can remain on the sea of ignorance all you like.

          • laker48

            Same can be said about you. March on! :) Have a good weekend on the go! BTW, those idiots are probably illegal in Poland and their leader’s in jail.

          • Quartermaster

            To the contrary. It could be said if I were wrong. The political spectrum I outlines above has been around for over 200 years.

            Hopefully, they will be brought to justice and if it comes out they are some of Putin’s boyz, it can be broadcast far and wide. Anything to slap Putin’s thugocracy is a good thing.

          • laker48

            All extremists on both sides of the spectrum are financed by the Kremlin, Ukrainian ultranationalists included. Ukraine is studded with RuSSian agents, sleepers, shills and sycophants, like an egg twist with raisins. French and German extremists, as well as ecological movements and Greenpeace are also heavily penetrated by RuSSian agents and money. People with extreme views are seldom objective, hence prone to demagogic influences and radical behaviours.

          • Quartermaster

            Ultranationalists won’t see a Ruble unless there is something in it for Putler. Ukraine is riddled with Russian agents is an assertion I can agree with. I’m sure the entire “near abroad” is the same way.

          • laker48

            You’re perfectly right with the latter but the Dwarf syphons corrupting RuSSian dollars to finance every movement that is willing and capable of rocking the boat. It’s the Judo strategy that first tries to rock the opponent out of balance and use his energy to defeat him. Putler’s problem is that the US also can employ this strategy and is many times heavier than the emaciated Dwarfstan, and this is a mortal threat to the fascist RuSSian Federation.

    • MichaelA

      good to see that some in the polish government are starting to wise up
      the polish secret service worked together with the ukrainian secret service
      to arrest these putin agents who pretended to be polish nationalists

  • laker48

    Katsap od bandrite, learn proper English before posting your claptrap!

    • Albion

      That’s right, stop barking UP the wrong tree.

      • laker48

        Are you an MCP? :)

        • MichaelA

          what he wrote was the simple truth
          polish and hungarian nationalists are intent on fighting phantom enemies
          and doing the work of putin

          • laker48

            Both nations know what they’re fighting for. The real fight hasn’t started yet. Both nations hate RuSSia sincerely and have arm-long unsettled historical and most recent scores with RuSSia. You know NOTHING about these two nations who have supported one another since the 16th century. https://www.quora.com/Why-do-Poles-like-Hungary-and-Hungarians-so-much

          • MichaelA

            oh indeed the nations know
            and the people oppose russia
            but orban doesnt
            anymore than yanukovych did
            and anymore than you do
            and I agree you know nothing about either nation except what you get from conspiracy websites

  • MichaelA

    exactly
    just another front in putins propaganda war
    using useful idiots in the west

  • Alan Gold

    Shitty upainian bullshit prpaganda for retards.

    • Alex George

      What facts in the Article do you disagree with?