Poland in the crosshairs of Russian propaganda 

Poland in the crosshairs of Russian propaganda
Photo: Reuters

The Russian website «Independent military review» published an analysis entitled «A new way of fighting», which was authored by Alieksandr Khramchichin, a 53-year-old «political scientist» working at the Institute of political and Military Analysis IPWA.

In his analysis, Chramczychin revealed why Poland is one of the main goals of the Russian propaganda machine: «a real information war with Moscow is more dangerous for Warsaw than Russian military aggression (which is obviously impossible), because it destroys the most important historical myth on which contemporary Poland is built – the myth of a country that fell victim to two totalitarian regimes.» 

Let’s describe some examples of information warfare only from 2020:

Changing the historical message

Russian historical revisionism, which aims to change the message (unfavorable to Poland and Western countries) about World War II. And here Chramchichin points to two such events:

  • «Poland’s signing of the agreement with Germany in January 1934», which was supposedly intended to bring Hitler out of international isolation;
  • Poland’s entry into Zaolzie and direct participation with Germany in the partition of Czechoslovakia as the de facto start of World War II.

This is probably the purpose of the opinion presented by Chramczychin in the analysis as the fact that «pre-war Poland was in fact a full-fledged fascist state and in terms of totalitarianism was not much worse than the Stalinist USSR and Nazi Germany».

Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki called the Russian historical propaganda «an unworthy lie and a deceptive attempt to blame others for the actions of the Soviet Union.»

Poland wants Grodno back

At the same time, attempts were made to use Poland for Kremlin propaganda in Belarus. Both before and after the presidential elections, Russian-linked news channels circulated false information that Poland wanted to annex Grodno, financed saboteurs and continued its colonial policies.

The writer Yevgeny Volodchenko even reported the existence of a network of «Polish saboteurs» who sow fake news, and then gave examples:

  • Charter97 website (a well-known Belarusian opposition portal operating outside the borders of Belarus and funded by democratic countries) and
  • and the Basta channel, operating on the Telegram platform.

Analyst Sergei Ivannikov, in an interview for pro-Kremlin website ukraina.ru (reprinted in Belarus) instead, he suggested that the Polish dream is to enter Minsk, of course in «NATO shoes», and then create a colony of Poland or the European Union from Belarus.

Ivannikov also promotes increased cooperation between Russia and Belarus and the creation of a so-called Union state, which is to be much more attractive than «colonization» by Poland. The thesis that only Russia is able to protect Belarus from the Imperial entanglements of Poland is popular among pro-Russian politicians.

The narrative about Polish colonialism and imperialist ambitions may be amusing, but its consistent promotion certainly influences the attitude of Belarusians towards Poles.

A false letter from the general

On April 22, unknown perpetrators hacked the website of the Military Art Academy. An open letter from the rector-commandant of the Academy, gen. Ryszard Parafianowicz. He was entirely a fake. The content was prepared in such a way as to attack NATO troops, especially American soldiers in Poland.

There were theses about the «American occupation», NATO provocations, and the rulers’ phobias. The accusation was made of the revival of fascism in Poland – the ideology of fascism is to «flow from the Ministry of National Defense».

The hackers were prepared to make sure that the letter would quickly disappear from the site (this happened) – they made sure that the drop of the fake site would go to the Internet archive and then use this very screen. They then published it on two right-wing portals: right.pl and left.pl and independent.pl and tvrepublika.pl.

Here is an example of the text: «The training takes place on outdated equipment, in the absence of basic combat means. You need to have something to shoot from, and from what they have, there is a weak range and force of fire – because the only thing they can shoot from is a rubber band from their panties».

Attack on the President of Poland

Shortly after the presidential elections in Poland, a recording was uploaded to the network, where Andrzej Duda was supposedly congratulated by UN Secretary General António Guterres. In fact, two Russian comedians Vladimir «Vovan» Kuznetsov and Alexei «Lexus» Stoliarov called. The topics of the conversation were: COVID-19, LGBT issues, relations with Ukraine and the «recovery» of Lviv, relations with Donald Tusk, all «basic» topics used in the Russian Information War. Of course, the comedians did not admit that they acted on behalf of the Russian special forces.

Chramczyin’s analysis and the above examples are a serious warning for Poland.

Материал доступен на русском языке: Польша под прицелом российской пропаганды