Disinfo: Polish authorities are erasing the memory of Polish WWII heroes

Summary

After the attack on the places commemorating the Red Army’s soldiers, the Polish Institute of National Remembrance started to erase the memory of Polish heroes from public spaces.

In two regions of Poland, the Institute of National Remembrance wages a new war – no longer against Soviet soldiers, but the memory of Poles, who shed blood and gave their lives for the current territory of Poland. It was not difficult to predict that after the destruction of the Red Army’s memorial sites, there will come time to erase the memory of these people. This situation is an obvious symptom of the strengthening policy of modern history falsification.

Disproof

A recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative casting Ukraine, Poland and the Baltic States as countries which do not respect the history of WWII and its heroes.

Background information: The Polish Institute of National Remembrance requested the dismantling of boards from memorial sites, presenting the symbols and names of various Communist military services as they violate the law on the propaganda of totalitarianism.

In 2017, Poland introduced new laws to ban the promotion of Communism and other totalitarian regimes. According to this law, up to 230 Soviet monuments may be replaced, a decision to be made by Polish local authorities. The Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs underlined that the Red Army's burial places and cemeteries located in Poland will be carefully protected. It is possible to dismantle and remove only symbolic monuments to the Red Army.

In 2015, Paweł Ukielski, Deputy Head of the Polish Institute of Historical Remembrance, published an open letter in which he explained the need to remove the symbolic monuments to the Red Army from Polish public places (text in Polish and Russian). According to him, free Poland perceives these monuments as symbols of captivity by the totalitarian USSR. In some cases, the Soviet monuments glorify the Red Army officers and generals, who were involved in war crimes against the Poles. The Polish Government does not implement a centralised policy of replacement of the Red Army monuments, such decisions are taken by the local authorities.

Read similar cases connected to the issue of the Red Army monuments in Poland - Monuments to Soviet soldiers are massively demolished and damaged in Ukraine, Poland and Baltic countries; Polish “war” against Red Army monuments compares to the actions of the Islamic State and Poland rewrites history erasing the names of Polish soldiers, who fought against Nazism.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 232
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 19/02/2021
  • Outlet language(s) Polish
  • Countries and/or Regions discussed in the disinformation: Poland, Russia
  • Keywords: Monuments, Historical revisionism, Red Army, USSR, WWII, Nazi/Fascist
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Russia does not need to take part in the information war

The leading mass media of the world is controlled by American and European Special Forces. Russia is not losing the information war – Russia simply does not participate in it.

It is an uneven fight, and the West wages the war the wrong way. We also have those possibilities. Many journalists, who respect their professions look to us. It is not a coincidence that the members of the British parliament follows RT: they understand that non-biased journalists work there.

Disproof

It cannot be excluded that British parliamentarians occasionally view RT, but the claim on RT journalists being “un-biased” is not correct. The British media licensing body, OFCOM, deprived the RT broadcast rights, due to the outlet’s failure to abide to British licensing rules for impartial reporting.

The claim on Russia “not taking part in the information war” can also be challenged. The RT editor-in-chief, Margarita Simonyan, has repeatedly claimed RT as a part of Russia’s efforts in an information war.

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The ECHR’s demand to release blogger Alexei Navalny is a very serious attempt to interfere in the Russian judicial system, which is unacceptable.

Disproof

The claim is made in light of the recent decision by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), which was published on 17 February 2021. The ECHR decided “to indicate to the Government of Russia, under Rule 39 of the Rules of Court, to release the applicant [Navalny]… This measure shall apply with immediate effect.” The Court explains this decision as follows:

The Court had regard to the nature and extent of risk to the applicant’s life, demonstrated prima facie for the purposes of applying the interim measure, and seen in the light of the overall circumstances of the applicant’s current detention. This measure has been granted without prejudice to the Court’s decision on the merits of the present case and the competence of the Committee of Ministers.

The European Court of Human Rights was set up by the Council of Europe in 1959 as a supervisory mechanism to monitor respect for the human rights of 800 million Europeans in the 47 Council of Europe member States that have ratified the European Convention on Human Rights. Russia, both as a member of the Council of Europe and as a signatory of the Convention, has committed to the respect of human rights, democracy and the rule of law and undertook to secure a number of fundamental rights and freedoms to everyone within its jurisdiction.

As follows, the decision made by the ECHR does not contradict any laws and does not represent interference in the Russian judicial system. As The Guardian writes and as the court notes:

EMA's delay in approving Sputnik V is political

It appears that the delay in approval by the European Medicines Agency is related to political or geopolitical reasons, not medical, and this is a mistake, especially at a time when there is a need to vaccinate citizens to get out of a social and economic emergency as well as health emergencies.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative aiming to promote the Russian Sputnik V vaccine. The claim was neither counterbalanced nor critically challenged in the article.

All vaccines, authorised by the European Medicines Agency (EMA), are welcome in the EU. As of the 17 February 2021, the producer of the Sputnik V vaccine has not submitted a market authorisation to the European Medicines Agency.