Disinfo: 40% of Holocaust victims were Soviets


40% of the (6 million Jews who perished in the Holocaust) were citizens of the former Soviet Union.


Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about WWII and the Holocaust.

Of the 6 million Jews killed by the Nazis, historians say about 1 million were Soviet. This narrative appeared to be adding an additional 1.5 million Jewish victims from eastern European areas occupied by the Soviets under their pact with the Nazis.

Arkadi Zeltser, a Yad Vashem historian, said the accuracy of the statement depended on rival “definitions” of when the war began. Yad Vashem, along with all other reputable institutions, considers the war to have been sparked on September 1, 1939, with the invasion of Poland. The Soviets generally consider their “Great Patriotic War” to have started two years later when Germany invaded the Soviet Union.

Historical background

By the early part of 1939, the German dictator Adolf Hitler had become determined to invade and occupy Poland.

Secret negotiations led on August 23-24 to the signing of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact in Moscow. In a secret protocol of this pact, the Germans and the Soviets agreed that Poland should be divided between them, with the western third of the country going to Germany and the eastern two-thirds being taken over by the USSR.

On September 1 1939, Hitler attacked Poland, Soviet troops entered the territory on September 17 of the same year.

Following the German and Soviet invasion of Poland in September 1939, the country was divided between those two occupiers. Nazi concentration camps, aimed at exterminating the Jews, were built on the Polish territory at the time when it was occupied by Nazi Germany.


  • Reported in: Issue 183
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 23/01/2020
  • Outlet language(s) Arabic
  • Countries and/or Regions discussed in the disinformation: USSR, Germany, Russia
  • Keywords: Holocaust, USSR, WWII, Nazi/Fascist
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Disinfo: Poland does not want to know the truth about its past

A number of Eastern European countries do not want to know the truth about their past. It is about cooperation with the Nazi occupiers. For example, in Poland, they caught escaped war prisoners and brought them back to the Nazis. The same happened with Jews. National historical schools avoid these facts, especially in Poland. They make their people look more as a victim and do not admit guilt in complicity. These countries, and Poland, first of all, need to make a moral effort and, finally, recognise the presence of dark spots in their history – cooperation with the Germans. Otherwise, there would not have been so many victims, including among war prisoners.


This message is part of the Kremlin’s policy of historical revisionism and part of the ongoing disinformation attack on Poland. It accuses Europe of "covering-up facts about the Second World War". According to this policy, the official Russian historiography is the only “true” way of interpreting the historical events about WWII. It is an undeniable historical fact that both Nazi Germany and the Stalinist USSR were totalitarian regimes, which directly caused the deaths of tens of millions of people. Moreover, these two regimes are mutually responsible for the outbreak of WWII. It is a historical fact that the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact contained the Secret Supplementary Protocol, which assumed the division of Poland and other Eastern European countries between the USSR and Germany. Thus, the signing of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact enabled the German and Soviet military aggression against Poland in September 1939, which resulted in the occupation of this country by Germany and USSR, triggering the beginning of WWII. According to mainstream Polish historians and the views of the predominant part of Polish society, in 1944-1945 the USSR occupied Poland, establishing the undemocratic and repressive Communist Poland. Poland was kept under the Soviet sphere of influence until 1989. Following the German and Soviet invasion of Poland in September 1939, the country was divided between those two occupiers. Nazi concentration camps, aimed at exterminating the Jews, were built on the Polish territory at the time when it was occupied by Nazi Germany. While incidents of Poles attacking and denouncing Jews were recorded, a substantial group of Poles risked their lives during the German occupation to save Jews from Nazi extermination. Artur Hofman, chairman of the Social and Cultural Association of Jews in Poland, the largest Jewish organization in the country, emphasized that Israelis know that Poles were not complicit in the Holocaust. He called the Russian attempt to blame Poles for cooperation with Hitler “a provocation”. The European Parliament called the World War II the bloodiest tragedy of the century, which resulted in millions of victims of authoritarian regimes both of fascist Germany and the USSR. The European Parliament adopted a resolution, describing the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact of 23 August 1939 as a key element, causing World War II. Read similar disinformation cases claiming that Warsaw supported Hitler’s plan to expel Polish Jews to Africa, that Poles killed more than 400,000 Jews during WWII, and that Facts about WWII are being covered-up in Europe in order to conceal “unpleasant moments” in its own history. Read a statement from the Polish MFA on false narratives on World War II presented by the Russian Federation here.

Disinfo: Climate change is not such a big concern for citizens

The Paris Agreement didn’t progress because whilst awareness on climate change mobilises the media, it is not a serious concern for regular citizens. Those concerns about the climate are not as real or pressing as we have been led to believe in Canada, the US, Eastern Europe and some Latin American regions.


False claims misrepresenting the citizen perception of climate change. This is part of a recurrent Russian narrative on climate change designed to increase polarisation in Western societies. While in 2009 57 percent of Canadians thought that serious action on climate change should wait until the recession was behind, this problem is now concern number 1 for the citizens of the country. A recent survey from Yale University and George Mason University found that 69 percent of US citizens are “somewhat worried” about climate change and 29 percent are “very worried.” These are the highest values since the surveys began in 2008, and the “very worried” category shows an 8 percent jump compared to the previous survey published in April 2018. A study by Vanderbilt University’s Latin American Public Opinion Project found that in Mexico and Central America, 81.5 percent characterized climate change as a “very serious” problem, with an additional 10.4 percent characterizing it as “somewhat serious”. South Americans followed close behind, with 75 percent answering “very serious” and 15.2 percent saying “somewhat serious”. In the Caribbean, 66.7 percent answered “very serious” and 21.9 percent said “somewhat serious.” According to another survey by the Pew Research Centre, released in April 2019, 66 percent of Hungarians and 55 percent of Poles think that global climate change is a major threat, while 26 percent and 31 percent of citizens in Hungary and Poland, respectively, consider it a minor threat. Only 6 and 10 percent of Hungarians and Poles don’t see it as a threat at all. Globally, 68 percent of citizens think it is a major threat and 20 percent see it as a minor threat, with only 9 percent dismissing it as a danger. You can see other examples of disinformation about climate change in our database, such as the alleged lack of evidence of human responsibility in climate change, the lies of environmental activist Greta Thunberg (who is in a war with white men), the weaponisation of climate issues by the West in order to prevent Russia's development or its use to distract the public from the real threats to humanity.

Disinfo: US and UK planned to destabilise the Caucasus through Islamists

In his interview with The Guardian, John Scarlett, former Chief of the UK Secret Intelligence Service MI6, allegedly disclosed a three-stage strategic plan of the United States and Great Britain aimed at Russia’s fragmentation.


Repeating disinformation and 2-years old fake message on the former chief of MI6. The article wasn't published by the Guardian, and the interview doesn't exist. The website that published the article replaced the 'i' in Guardian with a Turkish ı, but otherwise looked similar to the original. The story was removed and Facebook deleted posts including links to it. Many Russian news outlets reported about the interview, among them Ren-TV, PolitOnLine.ru, EG.ru, Dni.ru. Many of them deleted the articles afterwards. Russian federal TV channel Rossiya 1 repeated the false information quoting the interview on debate show Evening With Vladimir Solovyov. According to the BBC's Russian-language service, the English grammar errors in the fake article are similar to those that Russian-speakers make. For further debunking check The Guardian article.