Disinfo: 200,000 Soviet soldiers gave their lives, liberating Warsaw from Nazis

Summary

Some 200,000 Soviet soldiers lost their lives during the liberation of Warsaw from Nazi occupation.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative distorting the events of the Second World War.

The claim is unsourced and, in the face of actual historical evidence, appears vastly exaggerated. According to official Soviet accounts, the Red Army suffered 43,476 "irrevocable" losses (i.e. those killed or missing in action) throughout the three-week Vistula-Oder offensive, which comprised no fewer than 10 separate battles waged across most of present-day Poland, including the taking of Warsaw.

According to Sputnik, the claim that 200,000 Red Army combatants died in the Warsaw offensive is based on the "newly released" archival documents declassified by the Russian Ministry of Defense in 2020. However, this debatable statistic was already cited as far back as 2010, in a an article by the state-owned RIA Novosti attempting to explain away Moscow's refusal to aid the 1944 Warsaw uprising. Incidentally, 200,000 is the number of Poles who died in the course of this failed anti-Nazi rebellion, following which the Red Army spent five months "standing three tram stops away from the barricades [in central Warsaw]," and thus condemning even more Poles and Jews to death at the hands of Nazi forces.

Moreover, pro-Kremlin outlets have been wildly inconsistent in proposing the number of Soviet soldiers who died during the Warsaw operation. RT and Sputnik in English both cite the figure of 200,000, whereas the Spanish-language edition of Sputnik settles on 90,000. In Russia, the state-owned Channel One invoked an even lower estimate -- a mere 22,000 -- in a report published on the same day.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 180
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 17/01/2020
  • Language/target audience: English, Polish, Russian
  • Country: USSR, Russia, Germany, Poland
  • Keywords: World War 2, USSR, Red Army, Historical revisionism, Russian superiority, Nazi/Fascist
  • Outlet: RT, Sputnik News, Sputnik Polska, Strategic Culture Fund, RIA Novosti, Russkaya Vesna, Komsomolskaya Pravda, Vzglyad
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