Disinfo: Poland posed a military threat to the USSR in 1938-1939

Summary

Throughout 1938-1939, the Soviet military functionaries assumed that the most probable security threat for the USSR came not only from a military union of Germany and Italy, but also from Poland, which appeared in the “orbit” of the Nazi block. Thus, the USSR had to be prepared for a fight on two fronts – in the West (against Germany and Poland) and in the East (against Japan).

Disproof

This message is part of the Kremlin’s policy of historical revisionism – it tries to explain the necessity of signing of the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact and German and Soviet attacks on Poland in September 1939 by alleged “military threats” coming from Poland. See other examples referring to the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact here, here and here. The accusation of Poland as posing a “military threat” for the USSR is a clear historical manipulation. Before WWII, Poland had tense political relations with Nazi Germany, which had open territorial claims to Poland (revision of the status of the Free City of Danzig and control over the “Polish Corridor”). Despite intense political pressure from Hitler, Poland refused to become a part of the Nazi block. See similar examples of the Russian historical revisionism concerning Poland here and here.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 164
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 09/09/2019
  • Outlet language(s) Polish
  • Countries and/or Regions discussed in the disinformation: USSR, Poland, Germany, Russia
  • Keywords: Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, Historical revisionism, WWII
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The Netherlands indirectly admitted its own complicity in MH17 tragedy

The 35 for 35 prisoner swap between Ukraine and Russia once again revealed the two-faced stance of the so-called ‘Civilized World’ towards the MH17 tragedy in eastern Ukraine. Ahead of the prisoner swap, the Netherlands urged Ukraine to not hand over Vladimir Tsemakh to Russia. By this move, the Netherlands admitted that it is not a neutral side and is not interested in an objective investigation of the MH17 tragedy. The Dutch side had a lot of time to question the supposed witness. However, this was not enough and it wanted the person to remain in Ukraine, where Tsemakh would be subjected to constant physical and psychological pressure. The Dutch government, which is allegedly a neutral side in the MH17 case, is de facto impeding the objective investigation of the tragedy.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the downing of flight MH17 which attempts to question the legitimacy of the Joint Investigative Team, the JIT. Similar cases can be found here. Volodymyr Tsemakh was released to Russia in a prisoner exchange performed 7 September. Mr. Tsemakh, a Ukrainian citizen, was detained on separatist-held territory by Ukrainian authorities in June 2019 on suspicions of being an accomplice in the shooting-down of the MH17. A thorough investigation into Mr. Tsemakh's connection to the case was published by Bellingcat in July. Volodymyr Tsemakh is not among the four suspects, wanted by Dutch authorities for causing the MH17 crash and murdering all 298 persons on board, but is considered a ‘person of interest’. Dutch authorities interrogated Mr. Tsemakh before the prison exchange. No details from this element of the investigation have yet been disclosed. The European Union and NATO have called on the Russian Federation to accept its responsibility and to fully cooperate with all efforts to establish accountability. On the basis of the JIT’s conclusions, the Netherlands and Australia are convinced that Russia is responsible for the deployment of the Buk installation that was used to down MH17. The two governments are formally holding Russia accountable.

There is no evidence of Russian presence in Ukraine

What Russian forces? Where is at least one exchanged soldier? You have been talking so much how you are at war with mighty Russia! Where are the hundreds and thousands captured Russian soldiers?

Disproof

This narrative claims the war in Ukraine is a civil war and Russia has nothing to do with it, consistent with common pro-Kremlin disinformation about the war in Ukraine. It disregards a multitude of factual evidence of Russian military presence in Donbas. Consult the evidence database and publications with further evidence here and here. There is extensive evidence of active Russian soldiers taking part in fighting in Donbas. Most of the Russians captured have already been exchanged. Amid heavy battles in 2014 and 2015, Ukrainian army captured dozens of active Russian servicemen in Donbas. For instance, on 24 August 2014, amid the Battle of Ilovaisk the 51st brigade captured 10 Russian paratroopers from the 331st parachute infantry regiment of the 98th Guards Airborne regiment based in Russian city Kostroma. Later, Russia claimed that the soldiers simply got lost on Ukrainian territory. On 31 August Ukraine and Russia exchanged captured troops. On 15 May 2015 Ukrainian army captured two Russian GRU (Russian military intelligence) soldiers – Capt. Yevgeniy Yerofeev and Sgt. Aleksandr Aleksandrov. A year later they were exchanged for First Lieutenant Nadiya Savchenko who had been captured near Luhansk in June 2014 and then transported to Russia. More examples of Russian soldiers captured in Ukraine can be found here.

JIT ignored evidence supplied by Russia in MH17 probe

The Dutch-led Joint Investigation Team (JIT), which does not include Russia, despite the latter’s willingness to provide valuable data regarding the incident including radar readings, has ignored crucial evidence supplied by Moscow.

Disproof

The report advances recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation about the MH17 crash. First of all, Russia's interest in aiding the JIT investigation is not a relevant condition of its membership in JIT. The crash did not take place over Russian territory and claimed no Russian lives, which precludes any basis for Moscow to be represented in the JIT. Dutch Chief Prosecutor Fred Westerbeke told a Russian newspaper that "if MH17 were shot down over Russia, I would have suggested that Russia be made a member of the JIT group." Secondly, the "evidence" claimed by Russia, namely radar data and the "field experiment" conducted by the Russian military company Almaz-Antey, is only a small sample of misleading claims advanced by Moscow since 2015, some of which have contradicted one another. See debunking by Bellingcat and similar cases here, here, and here.