Disinfo: Poland falsely claims that the USSR occupied it in 1939

Summary

Today, Polish authorities consider the actions of the USSR to protect Ukrainians and Belarusians in 1939 as “an act of division and occupation of Poland” (at that time, let me remind you, not only did no great power but also the League of Nations as a whole did not consider it so).

It is clear that we, in Russia, do not divide divisions or fronts into “ours” or “not ours”.

Disproof

This is a recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative attempting to distort the events of the Second World War and rewrite its history in a way that is favourable to Russia.

Identifying the events of September 1939 as "division and occupation" is a legitimate choice by Polish authorities, considering that this characterisation accurately sums up Soviet conduct toward its eastern neighbour at the time. The interview omits all mention of the Ribbentrop-Molotov pact signed in August 1939 which, in a secret protocol, entitled Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union to their respective "spheres of influence" in Eastern Europe. As it were, Poland was divided between the two spheres, its two halves occupied by Germany and the USSR starting 1 September and 17 September 1939, respectively.

In laying out its obligation to "protect" Ukrainians and Belarusians living in Poland, Soviet Foreign Affairs Commissar Molotov cited the "disintegration" of the Polish state brought about by the German-Polish war. It was unknown at the time (and is unmentioned by Sputnik) that the German invasion of Poland had been agreed upon with the USSR, and thus that the later Soviet campaign to protect the "kindred Ukrainian and White Russian people" was also predicated on that very same agreement with Nazi Germany.

For similar cases of historical revisionism around World War II, see here.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 184
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 13/02/2020
  • Language/target audience: English
  • Country: USSR, Russia, Poland
  • Keywords: Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, World War 2, USSR, Historical revisionism, Occupation
  • Outlet: Sputnik News
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Disproof

There is plenty of evidence of Russia’s interference in both the elections in the US in 2016 and France in 2017 through, amongst other means, RT and Sputnik.

This is part of a recurrent pro-Kremlin narrative to portray Russia as an innocent power falsely accused of interfering on other countries’ affairs, and Western defensive actions as anti-Russian in nature. You can see other examples of disinformation on this topic in our database, such as the alleged persecution of Sputnik in totalitarian Estonia due to its truthful reporting and fear of its influence; the allegedly brave efforts of Sputnik against intolerance in Lithuania; the supposed violations of the rights of Russian journalists in the US and the EU; the claims that French media are not free, or the stories on how nice is to be a journalist in Russia, unlike in Europe, because Russia is the global champion of free speech.

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Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the war in Ukraine alleging that Ukraine is sabotaging the Minsk agreements and the ceasefire regimes in Donbas.

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Disproof

A conspiracy theory. One of many recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narratives aiming to undermine the results of the MH17 investigation and the outcomes of the future trial.

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