The Polish Internal Security Agency (ABW) detained a Russian citizen Yekaterina C. residing in Poland since 2013, for her efforts to damage the Polish-Ukrainian relations. Yekaterina C. was part of a pro-Russian group that sought to cause tensions between Poland and Ukraine
Four more Russian citizens have been banned from entering Poland for next five years for being involved in what the ABW described as “hybrid” activities against Poland.
ABW suspects the group of “determined attempts to consolidate pro-Russian groups in Poland around two key priorities of Russia’s hybrid actions against Poland”, that is „fuelling Polish-Ukrainian animosities in social and political spheres as well as undermining the Polish historical policy and replacing it with a Russian narrative,” the ABW said.
Yekaterina C. was a part of Alexander Usovsky network, which was active in the Visegrad region, and which VSquare covered in 2017 (“A pocket revolution bought with Russian money” and “The man who wanted more” by Paweł Reszka and Pavla Holcova). Usovsky received money from Russia to spread Kremlin’s propaganda in the circle of radical nationalists in Central Europe. Yekaterina C. appears in so called „Usovsky leaks” – from the documents it seems that she was one of his main contacts in Poland, responsible for spreading Russian influence in the region.
In one of the emails revealed by journalists in 2017, Usovsky wrote to one of his people that Yekaterina C. would prepare promotional articles to be posted on websites controlled by Usovsky: “Next week (Yekaterina C.) will send 10 articles .(…) The task for you will be to promote links to these articles on the Polish Internet. To do this, register at any of our financial forums. You have to make at least 100 visits a month. Remuneration is small, 1,500 PLN – but this is only the beginning. The next stage will be more interesting”.
Yekaterina C. appears in photographs from the demonstration which took place on September 6, 2014 in Krakow, in front of the consulate of Ukraine. The demonstration was led by Jerzy Tyc and Janusz Mucha – Katarzyna C., in correspondence with Usovsky pointed to them as the most suitable persons for taking pro-Russian actions. At the demonstration, Mucha read a proclamation on behalf of the Polish nation, prepared by Usovsky.
In Yekaterina C.’ case there was no immediate comment available from Russia yet.
Co-founder and editor-in-chief at FRONTSTORY.PL, Wojciech Cieśla is an award-winning Polish journalist who, since 2016, has worked with Investigate Europe. He is the co-founder and chairman of Fundacja Reporterów (Reporters Foundation). He is based in Warsaw.