Polish anti-government group received licence for trade in arms: report
PR dla Zagranicy
An organization which has called for Poland’s conservative government to be overthrown received permission from the previous Polish administration for trade in "defensive" arms, media have reported.
Photo: minnamoira/pixabay.com/Creative Commons CC0
The Open Dialog Foundation, which says its aims include protection of human rights, democracy and the rule of law in the post-Soviet region, has received funding from Russian businesses, according to Poland’s public broadcaster TVP.
TVP cited commentators as saying that Russian security services may have been involved in supporting the foundation. A spokesman for the foundation dismissed what he described as "fantastical theories".
Link to Russian security service?
The public broadcaster’s tvp.info website said a 2014 decision to give the foundation an arms licence was backed by Piotr Pytel, former head of Poland’s Military Counterintelligence Service (SKW), who is being probed over allegations of cooperating with Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) without permission.
The FSB is Russia’s principal security agency and the main successor agency to the KGB.
Poland’s niezalezna.pl website reported that the arms licence for the Open Dialog Foundation was revoked in June by Interior Minister Mariusz Błaszczak from the conservative Law and Justice (PiS) party, which came to power in late 2015.
PiS replaced a government headed by the Civic Platform (PO), now the largest opposition party, which in bitterly at odds with Law and Justice.
TVP reported that the Civic Platform had "links with" the Open Dialog Foundation.
The foundation’s Bartosz Kramek said in post on social media: “We are not financed by Russian... business” linked to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
He added that the foundation “attaches great weight” to financial transparency.
Thousands took to the streets across Poland recently to protest at the PiS government’s planned overhaul of the judicial system, calling it a “coup” and an attack on democracy.
Law and Justice has said that sweeping changes are needed to reform an inefficient and sometimes corrupt judicial system, accusing judges of being an elite, self-serving clique often out of touch with the problems of ordinary citizens.