Date: 19 June 2024 Author: Mikołaj Rogalewicz

Belarus Uses Fugitive Polish Judge to Sow Disinformation

The Belarusian propaganda machine has been exploiting Tomasz Szmydt, a high-ranking judge from a Warsaw administrative court, to produce and disseminate propaganda content. Through both media statements and social media posts, he propagates various Russian disinformation narratives––to enhance the image of Belarus and Russia while disparaging Poland and Western countries. His activities online are being overseen by the Belarusian secret service.

Photo: Shutterstock

Defection to Belarus

Tomasz Szmydt, a former judge at the Warsaw District Administrative Court, appeared at a press conference on May 6, 2024, where he asked for political asylum. He said he did not agree with the policies of the Polish government and its diplomatic stance on Russia and Belarus. Szmydt claimed that he had been persecuted and intimidated because of his views[1].Media reports indicated that the former judge intended to depart Poland in late April 2024 during his holiday and cross into Belarus through the Terespol border crossing[2].

Tomasz Szmydt, as a judge at the provincial administrative court in Warsaw, dealt with sensitive security issues, including appeal proceedings involving civil servants who were denied access to classified information3. Szmydt is believed to have begun collaborating with the Belarusian special services at least a year prior to his escape. He had previously visited Minsk in June 2023 and Istanbul in December 2023[3]. Following his defection, the National Prosecutor’s Office made a case against him for spying for a foreign state. As a result, the Disciplinary Chamber of the Warsaw District Administrative Court suspended his duties and lifted his immunity as a judge[4].


Propaganda narratives that the fugitive judge spreads online

Already Belarus, the fugitive judge became highly visible in the media, frequently appearing on Russian and Belarusian outlets. He presented himself as a victim of the “Polish regime” and lauded both Belarus and Russia. He has been interviewed at

  • RT,
  • a TV show hosted by Vladimir Solovyov,
  • Belarusian state broadcaster Belarus-1,
  • Sputnik Belarus,
  • and Belarusian state news agency BelTA.

Furthermore, Tomasz Szmydt’s social media accounts emerged on Facebook, X, and TikTok, where posts and footage featuring the former judge began to surface. The writing style suggests that the content published was authored not by Szmydt himself, but by his case officer. All the content is rife with grammatical and stylistic errors.

Officers from the Belarusian secret services control Tomasz Szmydt’s activities, leveraging him as a tool to disseminate propaganda. Various recurring narratives can be distinguished. One aim is to present Belarus as an attractive and hospitable country[5]. He consistently shared images and recordings on his social media platforms, showcasing diverse locations and events in Belarus while advocating for exploration of the country. Szmydt is often featured in the recordings, expressing his deep admiration for Belarus. He has posted photos from cultural venues, museums, and various events.

In social media, Szmydt speaks positively about Belarus while casting Poland in a negative light. Also, he has weighed accusations that the “Polish regime” had been persecuting citizens who supported peace and Polish-Russian friendship. Additionally, these narratives diminish Poland’s independence by implying that its authorities prioritize the interests of the U.S. and the UK. Poland is allegedly under the sway of Western states, with current policies aimed at drawing it into the Ukraine war. Another facet of Szmydt’s media presence involves the justification of Russian aggression against Ukraine. In several interviews, Szmydt contended that Ukraine was to blame for the war, asserting that compliance with the Minsk agreements could have prevented conflict in 2022.

Moreover, the former judge frequently comments on contemporary political developments in Russia in his posts on X to conduct a smear campaign against Polish authorities while conveying favorable perspectives regarding Russian policies. Szmydt’s case officer also tends to retweet other posts and share accounts disseminating Russian propaganda. Additionally, the posts often refute Szmydt’s alleged status as a Belarusian agent, dismissing any accusations against him as unfounded.



The narratives spread via social media and in various media interviews by Tomasz Szmydt align with enduring Russian disinformation efforts. These activities aim, among other things, to discredit Poland by portraying it as undemocratic, while simultaneously whitewashing the actions of Russia and Belarus, depicted as democratic and friendly nations. The message is aimed at Polish, Belarusian, and Russian audiences, as evidenced by his interviews in Belarusian and Russian media. To amplify that, a Russian-language Telegram channel was launched. Posts targeting Poles focus essentially on groups vulnerable to anti-Ukrainian and pro-Russian narratives, whereas narratives targeting Russians and Belarusians seek to achieve domestic policy goals.


[1] Rzeczpospolita, Sędzia Tomasz Szmydt uciekł na Białoruś. Prokuratura i ABW wkroczyły do akcji, 2024,

[2] PAP, Jak Tomasz Szmydt wyjechał z Polski? Odpowiedź zaskakuje, 2024,

[3], Jak Tomasz Szmydt wyjechał z Polski? Normalnie, 2024,

[4] TVN24, Jest decyzja w sprawie immunitetu sędziego Szmydta. “Brał udział w wojnie hybrydowej”, 2024,

[5] M. Istel, Tomasz Szmydt w machinie propagandy Kremla. “Wielowektorowa operacja”, Konkret24, 2024,


  1. pl, Jak Tomasz Szmydt wyjechał z Polski? Normalnie, 2024,
  2. Istel M., Tomasz Szmydt w machinie propagandy Kremla. “Wielowektorowa operacja”, Konkret24, 2024,
  3. PAP, Jak Tomasz Szmydt wyjechał z Polski? Odpowiedź zaskakuje, 2024,
  4. Rzeczpospolita, Sędzia Tomasz Szmydt uciekł na Białoruś. Prokuratura i ABW wkroczyły do akcji, 2024,
  5. TVN24, Jest decyzja w sprawie immunitetu sędziego Szmydta. “Brał udział w wojnie hybrydowej”, 2024,
  6. TVN24, Tomasz Szmydt. Co wiemy o sędzim, który poprosił o azyl na Białorusi, 2024,



The project is co-financed by the Governments of Czechia, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia through Visegrad Grants from International Visegrad Fund. The mission of the fund is to advance ideas for sustainable regional cooperation in Central Europe.

Support Us

If content prepared by Warsaw Institute team is useful for you, please support our actions. Donations from private persons are necessary for the continuation of our mission.


All texts published by the Warsaw Institute Foundation may be disseminated on the condition that their origin is credited. Images may not be used without permission.

TAGS: migration crisis, NATO, Belarus, Russia


Related posts