In early June, several Polish anarchist social media pages reported that a two Belarusian anarchists living in Poland were visited by a group of men, claiming to be from the Polish Border Guard, with an urgent warning for them.
Both of the Belarusian anarchists had lived in Poland since 2020 when they fled their home country fearing repression from the dictatorial regime of Alexander Lukashenko following the mass protests that have gripped Belarus since last year.
The visit happened at around 9am on 2nd June. The men claimed that the purpose of their visit was to warn the two of the potential threat they were under from the Belarusian KGB and specified they wer not investigating the two themselves.
The ‘border cops’ further claimed that they were in possession of information indicating that the Belarusian KGB passed on personal details of Belarusian anarchists residing in Poland to Polish neo-nazi groups. The personal information allegedly included details such as their full names, addresses and pictures.
This claim initially sounded feasible. The Belarusian regime has some history of using neo-nazi groupsto initimidate political dissidents. In the 1990s, Lukashenko’s authorities used the fascist RNU to attack liberal oppositionists. In 2007, the regime facilitated an attack of around 50 fascists on an opposition protest. the Polish fascist and far-right are no strangers to inflicting violence on the people they consider political opponents, as well as other groups.
The two Belarusian anarchists were surprised by the border guards’ visit and, for obvious reasons, treated the threat seriously.
However, after a cooling down period, they beganto question the legitimacy of their visitors’ claims. They quickly realised that the ‘border cops’ did not behave as they should. They failed to show any form of identification but instead attempted to interview the two separately. What’s more, after passing on the information of a possible threat to the safety of the Belarusians, they stated that “[they] know everything about them”. They then presented them with a list of information on the actions they may have been a part of and the list of places the two anarchists were said to frequent. They also insisted that, in order to provide them with security, the anarchists must pass on information to them on their activities in Poland. They even went as far as to insist that the two call them if they are aware of future anarchist and antifascist actions planned in Poland. In order to facilitate passing on of this information, the men gave them a mobile phone.
Following the publication of information regarding the first “border guards’ visit, the two Belarusian anarchists were subjected to yet another visit two days later. This time, the authorities wanted to express their disappointment that news about their first visit ended up in the public domain and to point out that such action has made providing protection to the two much more difficult. This time, the cops (or whoever they were), presented the Belarussians with screenshots from a Telegram channel where the information about their first visit was shared.
Following the publication of the details of the second visit, one of the Belarusian anarchists received a text message from the number given to them by the cops. The message consisted of a screenshot from a Telegram channel where the visit details were disclosed and “?”.
Commenting for Freedom News, the two Belarusian anarchists said:
We can say that no one better than us will protect us. The situation with the police continues. (…) Also, under the pretext of protection from the Nazis or the KGB, we were directly offered to inform these incomprehensible personalities about the future actions of anarchists and anti-fascists.
We consider this to be a pressure tactic and an attempt at recruitment by the Polish special services in order to harm the anarchist and anti-fascist movement.
We do not intend to trust various special services, no matter what regime. A state servant cannot be a protector for an anarchist. Anarchists, wherever they are, have always been and will be objecting the state, regardless of the regime.
We would like to wish all caring readers not to be afraid of anything, be vigilant, and not speak with the police.
While the possible activities of the Belarusian state against its dissidents abroad are not to be dismissed, the above information strongly suggests that the Polish state, while publicly expressing support to the dissidents of Belarus, will also not stop short of using legitimate worries for their own ends. In this case, this goal seems to be an extraction of information about the wider anarchist and antifascist movement in Poland. This is an act made even more disgusting by the fact that many Belarusian anarchists currently living in Poland have a personal history of extreme police repression and violence in their home country.
As Rozbrat squat collective said in their statement regarding the above issues:
No state authority can be gentle and fair to people, and our views and a legitimate desire to deconstruct this institution of systemic oppression make us enemies of all systemic violence. One cannot forget about the goals and tasks of secret services in any country in the world. Always and everywhere, they are goals that only benefit them and those who steer them.
The content of this text, as well as the information presented in it, was consulted with the abovementioned two Belarusian anarchists. They, for obvious reasons, chose to remain anonymous.
Main photo: the first “border guards” visit, reproduced with permission.