By FOIA Research
on March 28, 2019 - Last updated: August 13, 2023

Petr Bystron

Petr Bystron (born November 20, 1972) is a Czech-German far-right politician, who sits in the German Parliament (Bundestag) for the Alternative for Germany (AfD) party since September 2017. A member of the AfD since its inception in 2013, he has been accused of having pushed the Bavarian AfD section, of which he was chairman from October 2015 to November 2017, markedly to the far right. Due to his proximity to the Identitarian movement, which he called a “front organization” of the AfD, in 2017 he was briefly put on the surveillance list by German authorities, and subsequently lost his post as chairman of the Bavarian AfD.

Since 2017, Bystron serves as chairman of the AfD faction on the Foreign Policy Committee of the German Parliament. In July 2023, he was voted at an AfD party congress to place two on the list of candidates for the upcoming European elections, and thus will likely join the European Parliament in 2024.

In the recent years he has become a veritable power player in the party, meeting high-ranking politicians at the forefront of the far-right resurgence in Europe, amongst them president of the Czech Republic, Miloš Zeman, former Czech president Václav Klaus, Hungarian president Viktor Orbán; as well as international far-right galleon figures, such as Steve Bannon.

Bystron does not seem to care about the optics of openly appearing with neo-Nazi groups, such as Pegida, Fortress Europe, or the South African paramilitary Suidlanders.

Bystron interfaces the AfD with the Identitarian movement, prominent elements of the American Right, as well as relics of the postwar anti-communist International. His blend of far-right ideologemes contains decisively neoliberal, Islamophobic, anti-immigration, pro-American, pro-Israel, and anti-communist elements. Having emigrated to Germany in 1988 from Czechoslovakia when he was a teenager, Bystron presumably inherited his rabid anti-communism from his parents.

Bystron has contributed to pertinent far-right journals, such as Junge Freiheit and eigentümlich frei. As of 2018, he had appeared on RT and Sputnik about 30 times as an "expert" and interviewee. According to Sputnik Germany, Bystron speaks next to German and English also Slovakian, Czech, Polish, and Russian.1

Bystron is a Catholic, is married and has two children.2


Early Life

Bystron was born in 1972 in Olomouc and grew up in Český Těšín, in former Czechoslovakia. At the age of 14 he founded a banned boy scout club, and at 15 he was arrested by the Czechoslovak State Security for distributing banned songs. His family left for Germany in 1988, where they were granted political asylum.3 It is likely that his avid anti-communist views have developed against this backdrop. His parents settled in Munich, the center of anti-communist plotting by German and American secret services in the postwar period, and a major gathering place for political refugees from the Soviet Union.

Bystron studied economics and international relations at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich (LMU) and the Hochschule für Politik München (HfP) – Bavarian School of Public Policy.2 After completing his studies and being awarded his degree (DE: "Dipl. sc. pol. Univ."), he was admitted to do a doctorate in recent history at the LMU. After graduating, he was chairman of the Friends of the Bavarian School of Public Policy. After protests about his AfD commitment, Bystron resigned from this post.4


In 1994, while still a student, he founded an international communications agency, which he sold later to a public limited company. According to his own statements, he then worked as a consultant for companies and parties and worked on concepts for their communication and "strategic brand management."5 On his Bundestag CV, he specified the following achievements in this period: "1995 winner of the essay competition of the EU Commission; 1998 Munich Airport Award for BMW; 1999 winner of the Munich Airport Award for IKEA."6


According to the Munich commercial register, the advertising agency Bystron GmbH was founded by Bystron in 1999, and changed its name to Lendvay GmbH in 2004, specialized in the “manufacture, repair and distribution of leather shoes,” of which he is the sole shareholder.7


Free Democratic Party

He was a member of the neoliberal Free Democratic Party (FDP) from 2006 until 2013,8 when he joined the newly founded AfD.


eigentümlich frei

First traces of his appearance in far-right circles go back to 2009, when he started to contribute articles to the New Right monthly eigentümlich frei (“peculiarly free”), founded and edited by André Lichtschlag.9 One discourse that connects Lichtschlag and Bystron is the theory that Nazi Germany was essentially socialist, and therefor left. Lichtschlag underpinned this theory as early as 2004, after a bizarre guerilla campaign against both, Attac and the NPD. A far-right “satire group” called Gustloff, of which Lichtschlag was part, published a website under the Russian web address with the slogan "Globalization is not a destiny - for a world of sovereign nations!," which claimed that NPD and Attac had agreed on a joint website.10 He wanted to show that "nationalism and socialism are two sides of the same coin."11


According to his Bundestag CV, Bystron was managing partner in a business consulting firm from 2011 to 2017.2


Alternative for Germany

Bystron joined the far-right AfD party right after its foundation 2013. In the 2013 federal election, he ran on the 17th place on the AfD list, but did not make it to the Bundestag. From 2013 until 2015, Bystron was a board member of the state committee "Europe and Foreign Policy."6


In 2014, the University of Geneva published an anthology on the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Wall co-edited by Bystron, with contributions by former Czech President Václav Klaus and former Polish President Lech Wałęsa, both rabid anti-communists.12

In the 2014 elections for the European Parliament, he unsuccessfully ran as a candidate for the AfD.


In October 2015, he became the chairman of the Bavarian AfD. He has been accused of having pushed the Bavarian AfD section, which he chaired until November 2017, markedly to the far right, particularly rallying against refugees and immigrants.13

Björn Höcke

On October 24, 2015, Bystron attended a rally by the neo-Nazi group a Pegida (short for Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of the West) alongside the racist rabble-rouser Björn Höcke (AfD) in Nürnberg.14

Huffington Post

From 2015 to 2016, after his appointment as Bavarian AfD chairman, he had a blog on the German edition of the well-known Huffington Post, where he made covert propaganda for the AfD, and rallied against Merkel and the Left.15 His stint was only brief, and HP quickly deleted his author profile,16 although his articles were still available on the website until the German HP version folded.17

Russia Today & Sputnik

In 2015, Bystron also started to appear on Russia Today and Sputnik. As of 2018, he had appeared on RT and Sputnik about 30 times as quoted expert and interviewee.13 For example, in a Sputnik article titled “Chairman of the Bavarian AfD about axe attack: ‘Ticking time bombs come to live with us,’” he was given a platform for expressing his Islamophobic, anti-immigration stance.18 In another article “Commissional inquiry of Merkel - Bavarian AfD is crowding the Bundestag EXCLUSIVE,” he could expand in an exclusive interview on his idea to initiate a inquiry commission against Merkel with the aim to stop uncontrolled immigration, while “he praises Russia, on the other hand.”19 On RT International Bystron appeared mostly with anti-immigration and Islamophobic discourses (“EU refugee crisis threatens ‘de-facto collapse of Schengen system’”;20 “‘Entering EU for jihadists is as easy as a thief entering a house with an open door’”;21 “More than a question of meat: Germans catering to demands of Islam ‘creating parallel societies’”22 ).


Freedom Party of Austria

According to a publication by the Heinrich Böll Foundation, in early 2016 the German AfD party made tangible advances towards Strache and the FPÖ - a transgression of the red line that the ECR group had imposed on its members in regards to alliances with the far right, welcomed by Bystron:23

In February 2016 ... AfD-NRW chairman Marcus Pretzell organized a congress in Düsseldorf attended by [Frauke] Petry, FPÖ chairman Heinz-Christian Strache and FPÖ MEP and secretary general Harald Vilimsky. Announced initially as an event of the conservative ECR group in the EU Parliament, the congress eventually took place only under the labels of AfD and FPÖ. Until the summer of 2015, the AfD's ECR membership still included, at least officially, a strict demarcation from parties like the FPÖ. That meeting marked the first public and official bridge-building between the AfD and the FPÖ, which in Brussels does not belong to the ECR parliamentary group, but to the much more radical Europe of Nations and Freedom (ENF) group. Strache called the invitation to meet with the AfD a “historic act.” A few days later, the Bavarian AfD state chairman Petr Bystron announced the launch of a “Blue Alliance” - based on the party colors of the AfD and the FPÖ. Bystron supplemented his press release with a graphic showing a map of Germany with Austria attached between his picture and Strache’s; in addition, the text: “The blue alliance overcomes borders: FPÖ and AfD together for the future of Europe!”

Pegida & Fortress Europe

In May 2016, he traveled to Prague to meet with representatives of the neo-Nazi organizations Pegida and Fortress Europe,24 an Islamophobic movement founded on January 23, 2016 in Prague. Fortress Europe’s spokeswoman is the German Tatjana Festerling, formerly associated with Pegida, who described the objectives of the movement in the so-called Prague Declaration. According to the Tageszeitung, the initiative, including Festerling herself, supports far-right militias on the Bulgarian border.25

The term “Fortress Europe” has its origins in the Nazi period, referring to Hitler’s plans to fortify the whole of occupied Europe in order to prevent an invasion from British troops. However, it has reappeared in the recent years, used even by mainstream politicians. For example, in June 2018, the Bavarian Prime Minister Markus Söder stated in a guest contribution for the newspaper Die Welt:26

In the past, the term "Fortress Europe" was only used in a negative way. This changes now. Citizens today want a secure Europe that protects their cultural identity. Europe must finally be able to protect itself better from the changes and turmoil of the world.

Identitarian Movement

According to a report by Bayerischer Rundfunk (BR), Bystron and two right-wing extremists from the Identitarian movement and the Alliance of German Patriots (Bündnis Deutscher Patrioten) wanted to attend an event at the end of June 2016 organized by the Munich Anti-Fascist Information, Documentation and Archive Center. With reference to the house rules, they were turned away by the organizers. Bystron disputed the reporting by BR that he wanted to attend the lecture together with the two neo-Nazis, stating that he met them there by chance and did not know them well before. The BR then published photographs showing Bystron with the two right-wing extremists both before the event and in the beer garden.27


From March to September 2017, Bystron was under surveillance by the Bavarian State Office for the Protection of the Constitution (state-level domestic intelligence).28 According to Interior Minister Joachim Herrmann, Bystron showed a pronounced proximity to the far-right Identitarian Movement (IM). For example, in an article on the Islamophobic blog PI News Bystron wrote that the AfD must be a "shield for this organization."29 Bystron filed a lawsuit against the surveillance measures. According to Bystron, the surveillance was based on a few statements, in which he had approved of the extra-parliamentary work of several civic movements, including the IM, since they were making parliamentarians aware of certain issues.30 The Munich administrative court initially ruled the surveillance of Bystron should be continued, since he actually showed anti-constitutional aspirations. For his comments in regards to the IM Bystron was also warned by the federal board of the AfD, with reference to an incompatibility decision of the AfD federal board, which prohibits support of anti-constitutional organizations by AfD members. Nonetheless, on September 24, 2017, he was elected a Member of the Bundestag. Finally, in November 2017 it was announced that Bavarian domestic intelligence had stopped the surveillance of Bystron already at the end of September 2017. It was reasoned that since Bystron was elected to the Bundestag in the meantime, much higher hurdles would apply in regards to the surveillance of an MP.31

In the 19th Bundestag legislature (2017-2021), Bystron was a full member and at times chairman of the Foreign Committee and the Subcommittee on Foreign Cultural and Educational Policy; and a substitute member on the Committee on European Union Affairs.2

During the 2017 AfD federal party conference in Hanover, according to media reports, a scandal ensued when AfD member of the Bundestag Corinna Miazga accused Bystron of making sexist comments toward her. In her candidacy speech for the election of the party’s three deputy federal spokespersons, Miazga stated, “I owe the second reason why I am here to my party colleague Petr Bystron, who pointed out to me during the election campaign that women like me should actually dance better at a pole.”32 Both Miazga and Bystron, who was also running, were defeated in the subsequent vote.


According to research by Zeit Online, as of March 2018, Bystron was one of the 18 members of the AfD employing right-wing extremists for their parliamentary work.33 One of Bystron’s employees, Jan-Andres Schulze appeared as author of the far-right conspiracist Kopp Verlag, whose publications are surveilled by the State Office for the Protection of the Constitution Baden-Württemberg. Schulze also wrote for the journal Sezession by Götz Kubitschek, who is regarded as the ideological head of the New Right in Germany, as well as for André Lichtschlag’s New Right monthly eigentümlich frei.34

The Swiss right-wing extremist Eric Weber, another of Bystron's employees, is a former local politician associated with the neo-Nazi scene, according to the Basle court.35 Weber was previously the author of the NPD publication Deutsche Stimme (German Voice) and coworker of a member of parliament of the NPD Saxony. In 1987, Weber was making headlines with a request to concede to the small Swiss right-wing extremist party “People's Action Against Too Many Foreigners and Asylum Seekers” (Volks-Aktion gegen zu viele Ausländer und Asylanten) the cellar of the Basel City Hall to celebrate the birthday of Adolf Hitler.36 Weber was arrested and convicted multiple times in his life, on issues related to his political activities.

A third of Bystron’s employees, Falk Janke, whom he made his office manager, has also attracted attention for his far-right activities. For example, Janke made headlines when he explained to a ZDF cameraman: “In my opinion, the Nazis were extreme left-wing,”37 a statement that was repeated by Bystron on several occasions. Janke, former Brandenburg regional chairman of the small Schill Party, had in 2005 gathered his voter group under the banner "The Right - Courage for Truth." In 2011, he formed a faction with two elected far-right DVU district council members. When he wanted to join the AfD faction after the 2014 election, it dissolved because of Janke's past.

Václav Klaus

In May 2018, Bystron appeared at a discussion panel organized to protest against the erection of a Marx statue in Trier, with the former Czech president Václav Klaus as a star guest,38 a former member of Vladimir Yakunin’s think tank DOCRI,39 as well as avid anti-communist. In a lecture entitled “Socialism is for Losers,” Bystron once more expounded on his favorite talking points: that the Nazis were left, and that being left is the most despicable thing:40

What particularly here in Germany is very much repressed and misjudged: That socialism had two facets. The one people often talk about is international socialism, but the other one is National Socialism. And the latter is often misunderstood. It is pretended that the Nazis were somehow right-wing. But, dear friends […]: the party has deliberately given itself the name National Socialist German Workers' Party. So, it's a party that even has a duplication in its name, claiming that it's a socialist, proletarian movement.

In July 2018, Bystron was behind a series of lawsuits against seven German NGO’s engaged in the sea rescue of refugees, including SOS Mediterranee, Sea-Watch, Doctors without Borders Germany, Save The Children Germany, Jugend Rettet, Mission Lifeline and Sea-Eye, blaming them of “human trafficking.”41

Tommy Robinson

In late May 2018, Bystron tried in vain to plead with the Human Rights Commissioner of the Council of Europe to free British far-right activist Tommy Robinson. He was subsequently interviewed about the matter by alt-right poster girl Brittany Pettibone, who is married to the leader of the Austrian Identitarian movement, Martin Sellner.42 When Robinson was released in August 2018, the Falun Gong-affiliated Epoch Times posted a piece quoting Bystron in the headline: “Islam critic Tommy Robinson is free - AfD politician Bystron: ‘Welcome back, Tommy!’”43


In early September 2018, Bystron traveled to South Africa, supporting the “anti-white racism” cause, reporting back in an article for the far-right, pro-Trump website The Gateway Pundit, titled “The Alternative for Germany (AfD), the leading German opposition party, is the only German party to address the plight of the Boers.”44 In the course of the trip, presumably at the party’s expense, he participated in a shooting training with the members of the Suidlanders, a right-wing extremist and racist paramilitary group, which prepares for an “inevitable race war in South Africa.”45 To German media Bystron said that he felt “zero fear of contact with the Suidlanders. It is an organization of mostly white farmers, which fear for their lives and organize themselves in order to survive, should it come to the worst case.”46

Phyllis Schlafly's Gateway Eagle Council

From September 13 to16, 2018, Bystron participated in the 47th edition of the Phyllis Schlafly's Gateway Eagle Council (PSGEC) conference, founded by far-right journalist and activist Phyllis Schlafly (1924-2016), and co-hosted by The Gateway Pundit (GP) (at the time sporting the sub-headline: “We report the truth - and leave the Russia-Collusion fairy tale to the Conspiracy media”).47 Among the speakers were next to Bystron prominent representatives of the American military (Lt. Col. Tony Shaffer, Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn); people supporting Trump’s presidential campaign team (Stephen Moore, Charlie Kirk, Ed Martin); prominent republican functionaries (Andy Biggs; Hon. Steve King, Ralph Reed); the American Alt-Right movement (Jim Hoft, Pamela Geller, Cassandra Fairbanks); the Schlafly family (Andrew, Bruce & John Schlafly), and others.

From left to right: Dominik Tarczynski, Cristina Laila (?), Jim Hoft, Pamela Geller, Petr Bystron

Dominik Tarczynski, the other European invited, "was elected to the Polish Parliament in 2015 where he now serves as a Member of the Foreign Affairs Committee and the European Union Affairs Committee. He is the Chairman of the Subcommittee on the EU’s trade agreement with the United States of America. In 2018 he became the Vice President of the European Conservatives in the Council of Europe.”48

The (PSGEC) awards an annual price, the “Phyllis Schlafly Gateway Eagle Council General Singlaub Award”. General John K. Singlaub, to whom the price is referring to, was head of the American World Anti-Communist League chapter, and his “outspoken advocacy of unconventional warfare, which he defined as ‘low intensity actions, such as sabotage, terrorism, assassination and guerrilla warfare,’ would dramatically change the function of the League” according to Inside the League, an early exposé on the WACL.49

That the PSGEC is still a fiercely anti-communist organization can be deducted from Tweets such as:50

Thanks to Dominik Tarczyński, & Petr Bystron, USA's MAGA supporters are at ONE with European Culture! FACTS: 60 million killed by #Hitler #Socialism; 200 million killed by Stalin Communism. #SocialismKills @realDonaldTrump @PhyllisSchlafly

Also the Gateway Pundit has a decisively anti-communist outlook. Jim Hoft, stated “I created the Gateway Pundit because I wanted to speak the truth. I wanted to expose the wickedness of the left […]”.51

Pamela Geller, president of the American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI), which she co-founded with the Islamophobic rabble-rouser Robert Spencer, tweeted about the encounter with Bystron and Tarczynksi in the context of the PSGEC conference:52

Plotting the takeover in the cause of freedom with Speaker of the Alternative for Germany party (AfD) MP Petr Bystron and Polish MP Dominik Tarczynski. Allies building a transatlantic army #GatewayEagleCouncil @D_Tarczynski @PetrBystronAfD @gatewaypundit @cristinalaila1

In the course of the 47th PSGEC conference, Bystron was interviewed in St. Louis by The Nation journalist Brendan O’Connor, where he “offered a surprisingly candid account of AfD’s relationship with white nationalist groups like Generation Identity.”53 The article is worthwhile reading, but here are the most important excerpts focusing on Bystron:

As it happens, before he was an MP, Bystron was kept under surveillance by the federal security services as a result of comments he made about the white-nationalist “identitarian” movement; his account of the relationship between identitarianism and the AfD would work equally well as a description of the relationship between “alt-right” and “alt-lite” groups in the United States and the Republican Party. The so-called identitarian movement, organized principally around the group Generation Identity, is “a front for the AfD,” Bystron said. “We have two different types of opposition: We are a political party; we have to be parliamentarian, keep it clear and separated from all the pre-parliamentarian opposition.” Citing groups like the Identitarians and Pegida, Bystron acknowledged that “there are many” such fronts.

“We need them. Those are our people,” he continued. “They are bringing important impulses for conversations in our society, they are demonstrating in the street, making actions. It’s a kind of cooperation.”  This cooperation is central to what Liz Fekete, director of the UK’s Institute of Race Relations, describes in Europe’s Fault Lines: Racism and the Rise of the Right as a “pre-fascist movement.” As “a far-right völkisch party,” Fekete argues (using the German word for a kind of mystical ethnonationalism), AfD is at the forefront of this movement, "the aim of which is to reform the political process and transform it into an authoritarian, völkisch system."

To that end, Bystron’s “pre-parliamentarian opposition” led thousands of Germans through the streets of Chemnitz the previous month, hunting down people they thought might be immigrants and reportedly attacking a Jewish restaurant. Bystron dismissed these accounts as “fake news.”

Steve Bannon

Just a few days after the PSGEC meeting, on September 24, Bystron met Steve Bannon, and Czech President Miloš Zeman near Prague. According to The Gateway Pundit, which reported on the event, the meeting was “arranged by Bystron […], a former Czech refugee from communism.”54

While, according to the Czech press secretary Jiří Ovčáček, relations of the West with the Russian Federation and the People's Republic of China as well as prospects for the EU were discussed,55 Bystron’s office’ recapitulation of the conversation, published in The Gateway Pundit, sounds markedly different:54

The three conservative mavericks discussed strategies for a conservative turnaround of the struggling continent, which is beset by uncontrolled mass immigration, Islamic terror, migrant rapes and murders, welfare freeloading and the crisis of the bloated EU bureaucracy […] They agreed the EU, which has threatened conservative members like Poland and Hungary with draconic punishments for not toeing Brussels’ Soros-dominated line, can not survive in its current form, and requires urgent reform at all levels.

The GP article further subsumes the talks:

President Zeman expressed deep concern about the threat by militant Islam and the need for action against it, while Bystron focused on the consequences of mass immigration to Germany — where migrants are six times as likely to commit sexual assaults and nine times more likely to commit homicide than the rest of the population. According to Bystron’s office, migrants are also nine times as likely to be on welfare. ‘Just as the Left has the Socialist International, we need to forge a Conservative International to unite the forces of reason, responsibility, democracy and national sovereignty, and save the continent from imminent destruction,” said Bystron […]

After the conference, Bystron gave also an interview to the far-right conspiracist PI News (PI = Politically Incorrect), where he stated: “I am looking forward to collaborate with Steve Bannon and other patriots in Europe, such as Matteo Salvini, HC Strache, and others.”56 Bystron has been featured on PI News about 150 times since 2016, a blog that combines pro-American as well as anti-Islamic discourses.

On a picture, Bannon and Bystron can be seen together with Tomáš Golem Měšťan, aka “Walter Edward Kurtz,”57 working for the Czech edition of PI News.

PI News was founded in 2004, soon after the re-election of George W. Bush, by a German teacher named Stefan Herre "to do something against Anti-Americanism.” Its popularity surged in the wake of the Muhammad cartoons controversy the following year. It is one of the most successful German blogs, receiving several tens of thousand visitors each day and ranking among the thousand biggest German websites in terms of traffic.

According to PI News’s own statement, as of 2011 there were about 50 local groups that had formed by readers of the internet portal in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and the Czech Republic.58 Research by the Frankfurter Rundschau and the Süddeutsche Zeitung shows, the task of these local groups is to design strategies for influencing the public according to the opinions presented by the blog. This entailed physical disturbance of events and lectures about Islamic topics, online harassment of so-called “do-gooders" (Gutmenschen), flooding them with negative comments, or sending abusive e-mails to supposedly left-wing journalists and authors.59 The historian Wolfgang Benz reported in September 2011 systematic disturbances of his events on Islam criticism by followers of the blog Politically Incorrect.

That Bystron is on an outright war path against anything called left, can be deducted from statements such as given on October 1, 2018, during an AfD campaign rally in Rosenheim. There, he publicly threatened left-wing counter-demonstrators with measures recently initiated by the Austrian FPÖ, which he called AfD’s "sister party”, referring to the recent raid of the offices of the Austrian Constitutional Protection Agency (BVT).

Bystron literally said:60

Yes, dear friends of the Antifa, we are very glad that you are all here today, because the police is in front of you, along the sides and up there, they film you, they have captured every single face of you. And I tell you one thing: It will be the same here as it is in Austria already. The FPÖ, our sister party […] is in the government, and one of the first steps they have taken was to initiate a raid of the Austrian Office for Constitutional Protection. And the next step will be to clean up with you, with all those left-wing extremists. And when we come to power, I assure you, that’s the end of left-wing extremism.

On October 28, 2018, the day Jair Bolsonaro was elected president of Brazil, Bystron described him as a “true conservative” and frolicked that “The conservative revolution has now arrived in South America.”61


The German domestic intelligence service mentions Bystron several times in its 2019 report, justifying the classification of the AfD as a “test case,” i.e. the legal basis for the preliminary surveillance of party members. One of the reasons given is the party’s proximity to the Identitarian Movement.62

In April 2019 it was reported that the Alternative for Germany party had invited Steve Bannon just weeks before the upcoming EU parliamentary election "to a media conference in Berlin for right-wing journalists and bloggers," entitled "1st Conference of the Free Media."63 Der Spiegel reported that Petr Bystron's office had confirmed the invitation of Bannon to the lower house of parliament.

Just days before the Ibiza affair shattered the political career of Heinz-Christian Strache in mid-May 2019, Bystron posted a picture of the two together, welcoming the far-right Austrian FPÖ party into the umbrella of the future Identity and Democracy group in the European Parliament.64

Picture of Heinz-Christian Strache (left) and Petr Bystron (right) posted in early May 2019. Author’s collection.


As Frontal21 reported in December 2020, the Munich Public Prosecutor’s Office had apartments nationwide searched in July 2020, where investigators found weapons with suspected perpetrators from the right-wing extremist spectrum. The investigation was triggered by a request for administrative assistance from the Croatian authorities. In March 2018, the authorities became aware of a delivery of illegal weapons for recipients in Germany. During raids, investigators found numerous automatic rifles, handguns and Kalashnikovs, ammunition, hand grenades and a rocket launcher. The German R. was incriminated, apart from the weapon finds themselves, by a confession from a middleman. Accordingly, R. declared that the weapons “were intended for the AfD, a right-wing party.”65 On February 4, 2021, the taz and Der Spiegel reported that there were also investigations into a Bystron employee.66 Dagmar S. is said to have networked the main suspect R. with another potential arms buyer from Bavaria and also to have been involved in the inquiries for arms deliveries. According to Der Spiegel, Dagmar S. is said to have kept a weapon of war in her private apartment for a while.67 As early as 2017, the later Bystron employee was the subject of media reports because of her contacts with the neo-Nazi NPD party and other right-wing extremists. According to research by Münchner Merkur, Bystron had asserted that “this woman” did not work for him, while AfD officials assured her that she acted as his “unpaid private secretary.”68

In the course of the Corona pandemic, Bystron provided access to several agent provocateurs from the right-wing conspiracy theorists-scene to the Bundestag building in the context of a parliamentary vote on the "third population protection act" on November 18, 2020.69 They hassled, insulted, and tailed members of the Bundestag, and in some cases even followed them to their offices, while filming their actions, and subsequently posting relevant clips on social media. The President of the Bundestag announced legal consequences. On February 24, 2020, it was decided by the management board of the AfD to ban Bystron and the MP Udo Hemmelgarn, who had also helped agents provocateurs to gain access to the Bundestag, from speaking in the parliament until the end of February.70 As of the author’s knowledge, Bystron has not faced any legal consequences for the action.


Tom Rohrböck

According to a year-long investigation published in June 2021 by NDR and the weekly Die Zeit, Bystron was promoted by a dubious political advisor named Tom Rohrböck. According to the reporting, “[he] forges intrigues, donates luxury trips, distributes dirty money.” Bystron himself is said to have received promotion, for example on online portals that are operated “as advertising space for those politicians [that Rohrböck supports].” One one of the websites, Bystron is said to have defamed a state chairman and internal party competitor in an article, among other things, and to have hidden behind the pseudonym “Felix Lautenschläger” for this purpose. The political advisor is said to have given money secretly to some of the politicians close to him. For these money transfers, the latter is said to have developed a sophisticated method of carrying out money transfers “via a complicated network of more than twenty-five publishing houses and investment firms.”71

Bystron ran for the September 2021 federal elections as a direct candidate in the Munich-North constituency, and via his state list position 4 in Bavaria re-entered the Bundestag. There, he is chairman of the AfD faction on the Foreign Affairs Committee; a full member of the Inter-parliamentary Union; a substitute member on the Council of Europe; and president of the Slovakia-Czech Republic-Hungary parliamentary group.72

In November 2021, Bystron visited Kyiv, alongside the AfD MEP Maximilian Krah and a member of the Bavarian state parliament, Ulrich Singer. A Facebook post by Krah reads:73

Ukraine is a wonderful country that has fallen into the clutches of robbers. Currently, it is the biggest obstacle to the normalization of relations with Russia. With my colleagues Petr Bystron and Uli Singer from the Bundestag and the Bavarian Landtag, respectively, we caught up: yesterday as election observers in Kharkov, today at an opposition TV station under threat, and finally on a solidarity visit to the country's most famous political prisoner, opposition leader [Viktor] Medvechuk, who is under house arrest. The EU and U.S. are funding a repressive, corrupt regime and its war. A new Ukraine policy is needed!


Regarding the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the online medium EurAsia Daily quoted Bystron in March 2022 as saying that the invasion marked “the end of the world monopoly with the USA as sole hegemonic power.”74 Bystron commented on the German government’s decision to supply German Leopard 2 main battle tanks to Ukraine: “German tanks against Russia in Ukraine—already our grandfathers have tried that,” openly adopting the Kremlin propaganda narrative.75

In the summer of 2022, the public prosecutor’s office issued a criminal order against Bystron, stating that he had performed the Hitler salute at an AfD rally in Munich, an act forbidden in Germany, upon which the Bundestag lifted the immunity of Bystron.76 However, the order was dismissed later in autumn by two local courts, the Bavarian district court and the Munich I district, thus the episode remained without consequences.77

According to research by the network Correctiv and the Lithuanian TV broadcaster LRT, citing a source in the Lithuanian border authorities, Bystron is said to have entered Belarus by land at the border town of Medininkai on November 16, 2022 and returned on November 19, 2022. Bystron explained that it was a party trip and rejected the suspicion of secret entry.78


From late July to early August 2023, the AfD chose its candidates for the upcoming European elections in 2024 at a party congress. Bystron reached place two on the list of 35 candidates, thus will most likely get a seat in the European Parliament. Other leading candidates are Maximilian Krah, and the Thuringian René Aust. At the congress, the members “voted in favor of the party leadership’s intention to join the far-right (Identity and Democracy) ID Group in the European Parliament,” known to collect “pro-Russian” far-right parties from across Europe under its banner.79 There are currently nine AfD MEPs in the European Parliament, but if the recent polls proof to be right, the party could gain as many as 20 seats.

In his speech at the congress in Magdeburg, Bystron explained that the “globalists” are the ones “who wanted to vaccinate us, who wanted to dispossess us, who basically wanted to enslave us.” He was referring to the conspiracy story that powerful people, allegedly a Jewish elite, were working towards a new world order installing or a supranational world government. He named “the Schwabs, Soros, Gates,” whom the AfD would take on.80


Bystron has contributed articles to several important German far-right mouthpieces. He wrote for the New Right weekly newspaper Junge Freiheit81 and the New Right journal eigentümlich frei.

From 2015 to 2016, after his appointment as Bavarian AfD chairman, the German version of the Huffington Post hosted a blog by Bystron on political and economic issues.

Bystron was an avid contributor to the website (“Journalist Watch”), where, as of 2020, his name appeared in over a hundred press items, and for which he also led video interviews.  Journalistenwatch receives financial support from the US think tank Middle East Forum, chaired by the historian Daniel Pipes, which promotes the networking of the New Right in Europe.82 In the meantime, Bystron’s articles have been removed from the website, however, many of them can still be accessed via archived copies.83 Although no longer identifiable as a contributor, the portal continues to do promotion for Bystron and the AfD.

Bystron has also been publishing articles in foreign media, and appeared on numerous foreign outlets as an interviewee. On the Russian state media outlets RT and Sputnik he appeared dozens of times as a “Germany expert.” He published articles in the Swiss Weltwoche84 and in the Austrian business magazine Format.85

Being fluent in Czech, Bystron contributes to various Czech media outlets. He writes op-eds for the Czech daily Mladá fronta Dnes and for the Czech news magazine Reflex. Interviews with him appear regularly on Czech public radio, in the Czech daily newspaper Blesk, and in Parlamentní listy. He was interviewed by the Slovak business newspaper Hospodárske noviny,86 and appeared on Slovak television.


Back to top
Printer Friendly, PDF & Email

More from author

FOIA Research
September 14, 2023
FOIA Research
June 7, 2023
FOIA Research
May 31, 2023
FOIA Research
March 25, 2023