Sympathisers of Putin’s Russia are not all cut from the same cloth. They are a bewildering conglomerate of organisations of various hues and political backgrounds who, probably not without reason, have not long taken hold in the larger groupings and political circles. They themselves see this as an advantage and proof of their anti-systemic nature.
The Polish Anti-War Movement is an initiative of Leszek Sykulski and Sebastian Pitoń, always seen wearing a hat associated with the Polish highlanders from the Tatra mountains. Who are the two men?
Sykulski is a popular political scientist and geopolitician who has for some time argued that Poles should withdraw all aid to Ukraine. He argues that the price for it could be death, and the war is being fought in the name of American, not Polish, interests. He calls Poland’s eastern policy “aggressive”.
Pitoń is an architect by trade. He became famous for his “Highlander Veto” campaign, during which he demanded the complete lifting of Covid-era restrictions, as he did not believe in the pandemic. He was also famous for his peculiar view that a father, as head of a family, has the right to kill his child. After Russia invaded Ukraine in 2022, he began to argue that friendship with Russia was possible. And it doesn’t matter that Russian officials still threaten Poland with an armed attack. On Facebook, he once asked, “Russia turned off the oil tap to Poland. Why only now?”
On May 1, the Polish Anti-War Movement organised a march in Warsaw, attended by perhaps all friends of Putin’s Russia, from the far right to the extreme left.
Banners flown at these events read: “This is not our war,” “No more war,” and “Let’s not go to that war.” There were also overtly anti-Ukrainian demands. They oppose refugee aid and demand a reckoning for Volyn [a region where tens of thousands of Poles were murdered by the nationist Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA) in the mid-1940s – ed], “coincidentally” just now, when the Russians are murdering Ukrainians. However, it was impossible to find slogans stigmatising those who started this war, namely Putin’s Russia.
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By Bartosz Oszczepalski
Translated by: Roberto Galea