Conspiracy, Russian narratives, and outright lies by Leszek Sykulski.

Leszek Sykulski is a Polish political scientist who claims that the United States intends to convince Poland – with the help of a government that is submissive to them – to actively participate in the war with Russia. Sykulski and other “anti-system patriots,” in fact pro-Russian commentators, share anti-Ukrainian and anti-American views. They want to live in peace with Russia, which attacked Ukraine.

A fan of Russia

Until February 24, Sykulsky was considered a scholar with neutral views. He worked in the office of President Lech Kaczynski and was a member of the WSI verification commission. President Andrzej Duda awarded him the Bronze Cross of Merit. However, after February 24, his outlook became much more pronounced. In his Twitter, the political scientist spoke out against aid to Ukraine, arguing that it “exposes our country to retaliation from Russia.” On April 30, after the crimes of Russian soldiers in the Ukrainian town of Bucha were exposed, he conducted an interview with Russian Ambassador to Poland Sergey Andreev on his YouTube channel. He began by asking what Poles and Russians have in common. He was also interested in the prospects of cooperation between Russia and Poland in the fields of energy and culture.

The rhetoric strangely coincides with a change in Russia’s war strategy.

In October 2022, at a conference of the Polish “anti-system patriotic” and in fact pro-Russian organization Patria, Sykulski argued that “the navigators of the Polish state have set a course for war with the allied state of Russia and Belarus (…), and the eastern policy of the Polish state after 1989 is confrontational and subordinate to the policy of the Anglo-Saxon states, primarily the United States.”

Much of his speech was anti-American. He said that the Three Seas Initiative (the Organization for Economic Cooperation of Central and Eastern European States) is “an attempt to create an American sanitary code to put pressure on Germany, on the one hand, and to weaken Russia, on the other.” He called the current aggressive war a proxy war between NATO and its allies with Russia and even indirectly with China.

Leszek Sykulski also threatened a “big war” in the Middle East. In this context, he criticized contacts between Poland and Israel.

“We are witnessing an attempt to drag Poland into a war in the Middle East. What was the purpose of General Raimund Andrzejczak, Chief of the General Staff of the Polish Army, visiting Israel? Why did the Israeli Chief of Defense Staff fly to Poland for a return visit? And his first steps were to the museum of the former Auschwitz concentration camp, where he attacked the president of Iran!” – thundered Sykulski – “What is Poland’s goal in this? Do they want to drag Poland into a war with Iran?”

Characteristically, Sykulsky expressed his indignation just a few days after it became known that Iran had supported Russia in its war against Ukraine by providing it with a large batch of combat drones. In response, Israel claimed that it had provided Ukraine with intelligence useful for fighting Iranian drones.

A marginal pseudo-expert rather than a person with a degree

In November last year, when the first news about the missiles that fell on Polish territory and killed two people appeared in the Polish media, Sykulski had just attended a meeting on the topic “Who cares about Poland’s participation in the war with Russia?” in the Poznan bookstore Sursum Corda. The place is special because it is a well-known right-wing bookstore that organizes meetings with conservative publicists, anti-vaccinationists, coronavirus pandemic deniers, and supporters of the Smolensk murder theory (supporters of this theory believe that in 2010, Polish President Lech Kaczynski’s plane was mined and exploded in midair).

The guest of the Poznan meeting argued that “someone must be convinced that a confrontation between Poland and the union state of Russia and Belarus is inevitable.” 

Sykulski manipulated the facts, blurring the line between “helping a victim of the war in self-defense” and “fueling the war.” He said: “The current spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Lukasz Yasina, said a few months ago: ‘We are servants of Ukraine. Poland has given Ukraine more than 300 tanks, while we do not have any equivalent for this. Today, Poland is the main sponsor of Ukraine. The question is, is it in our interest to enter into a conflict with Russia and Belarus, to continue this confrontation?’”

According to Sykulski, the United States “needs a strategic bumper,” and Poland should become such a bumper.  “In my opinion, the Polish government is preparing for a war in the East,” Sykulski blurted out at one point. And he explained: “Many things, including legislation, testify to this. The law on the defense of the homeland, made on one knee, has come into force. This law restores conscript service, and in theory, of course, it introduces compulsory military service for women. It is clear that someone really needs cannon fodder.”

Sykulski stated that “we are dealing with the introduction of a massacre and preparing Poland for war.” He claimed that the directions of Polish foreign policy “lead to war”. He said that an amendment to the Criminal Code is being prepared, according to which “from now on there will be a category of asymptomatic espionage”: 

“Under Article 130, it will be possible to imprison any person who has views that are incompatible with the state narrative, with what the authorities want to proclaim. Because in addition to the classical definition of espionage, a definition of “intelligence activity” is introduced, i.e. “any activity to the detriment of one’s own state.”

Mr. Sykulski must have realized that he was in fact a Russian agent of influence, acting to the detriment of his own country.

“If Ukraine becomes weaker, the Americans will put pressure on the Polish government to help Ukraine directly. Ask yourself if we want this if we are ready to go to war today,” Leszek Sikulski summarized his speech.

Much ado about nothing

For almost a year now, Mr. Sykulski has been shouting about Poland’s involvement in a war with Russia from all available platforms. However, none of his predictions have come true. 

This is not surprising, as his rhetoric has nothing scientific about it. 

Scaring Poles into a war with Russia, accusing Poland of being run by America, is an old conspiracy that Russian agents have been using for years. 

While Putin was preparing his offensive, pro-Russian agents in Ukraine (corrupt politicians and bought experts under the guise of opposition) were telling the same narratives: that Ukraine is a puppet in the hands of America, that the West wants to drag Ukraine into a war with Russia [yes, they deliberately ignored that Russian aggression in Crimea and Donbas has been going on for 8 years]. Now similar statements are being made in Poland. 

Mr. Sykulski’s target audience is the right-wing marginals. These are people who are dissatisfied with their lives and who are easily convinced that migrants or refugees are to blame for their troubles. They are radical nationalists who find it easy to invent the “threat of Ukrainianization” of Poland. 

However, agents like Sikulski do not care what they say. The main thing is to disrupt aid to Ukraine and make Poland defenseless. 

One might think that Leszek Sykulski is just another failed scientist who, in the absence of scientific discoveries, has resorted to conspiracy theories that make it very easy to explain the complexity of modern society. One might think that he is a useful idiot whose rhetoric is dictated by narrow-mindedness.

But no. A year after the Russian invasion, when every month the world community receives more and more evidence of Russia’s horrific crimes, from mass murder to the forced deportation of Ukrainian children, an intelligent and conscious person cannot ignore the change of views. Being pro-Russian now is at least shameful and unethical.

Has Mr. Sykulsky changed his pro-Russian rhetoric? No, he hasn’t. On the contrary.

Most of Mr. Sykulsky’s publications are focused on Russia. He does not hide his sympathies. His personal website is in three languages – Polish, English, and Russian. He is increasingly quoted by Russian media.

But in addition to his pro-Russian rhetoric, Mr. Sykulski resorts to more provocative actions that can really harm Polish security. We will discuss this in our next investigation.

Photo: Leszek Sykulski attending Polish Anti-War meeting. Grzegorz Skowronek / Agencja

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