Disinfo: Russia puts more effort into establishing the truth about the Katyn massacre than Poland

Summary

Russia puts more effort into establishing the truth about the Katyn massacre than Poland. During the recent two years, the Russian authorities have devoted much closer attention to this issue that the Polish leadership.

Disproof

This message is part of the Kremlin’s policy of historical revisionism and an attempt to distort the truth about the Soviet crimes committed against Poland.

The Katyń Massacre is a symbol of the criminal policy of the USSR against the Polish nation. In Spring 1940, almost 22.000 Polish prisoners of war were executed by the NKVD in Katyn, Kharkiv and Kalinin (Tver). The Massacre was carefully considered and organised by the Soviet leadership. Up until 1991, the Soviet authorities refused to accept responsibility for this crime, blaming Nazi Germany for the mass-murders of Polish prisoners of war. In 1992, Russian President Boris Yeltsin submitted documents confirming the Soviet blame for this crime to President Lech Walesa. Read more about the Katyń Massacre here.

Throughout 2020, the Russian authorities took several measures regarding the Katyń Massacre, which may be considered as historical revisionism. In May 2020, the municipal authorities of the city of Tver ordered the removal of two plaques commemorating the memory of the victims of the Katyń Massacre. In November 2020, the Russian authorities organised a conference on the Katyń Massacre – several participants of the conference promoted the idea that the USSR and the NKVD were not responsible for this crime. These statements are an evident example of historical revisionism promoted by Russia – the Polish authorities continue to demand an investigation into this Soviet crime against the Polish nation.

The Polish Institute of Historical Remembrance protested against the Russian attempts to distort the truth about Soviet crimes.

See other disinformation messages connected to the Kremlin’s historical revisionism: Poland re-writes the history claiming that the USSR attacked it in September 1939; Accusing USSR of WWII outbreak, Poland distracts attention from its pre-war “miscalculations” and The pre-war Polish leadership bears all the blame for the tragedy of this country during WWII.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 222
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 26/11/2020
  • Language/target audience: Polish
  • Country: Russia, Poland
  • Keywords: War crimes, KGB, USSR, Historical revisionism, WWII

Disclaimer

Cases in the EUvsDisinfo database focus on messages in the international information space that are identified as providing a partial, distorted, or false depiction of reality and spread key pro-Kremlin messages. This does not necessarily imply, however, that a given outlet is linked to the Kremlin or editorially pro-Kremlin, or that it has intentionally sought to disinform. EUvsDisinfo publications do not represent an official EU position, as the information and opinions expressed are based on media reporting and analysis of the East Stratcom Task Force.

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Unlike Russia, Poland is a defenceless country fully dependent on the USA

Here is the main difference between Putin’s Russia and Kaczynski’s Poland. Russia has real sovereignty, independence from the US Embassy and hypersonic weapons. In its turn, as a result of the actions of its leadership, Poland is a defenceless country dependent on the United States.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about “lost sovereignty”. Poland is often presented as a “puppet-state” of the United States, Germany or Brussels. This narrative includes a message that the United States manipulates Poland and other European allies in order to carry out its anti-Russian policies.

Poland is a sovereign state, which shapes its own foreign and domestic policies. The statement that Poland is “defenceless” should be considered as military disinformation. Currently, the Polish Armed forces count about 105.000 soldiers and officers, which makes this Army the 9th largest among NATO countries and 7th largest among EU countries. Moreover, in the coming years, there are plans to increase the size of the Polish Army by 50% to 150.000. It means that in the near future, the size of the Polish Army will be comparable to the largest EU countries (UK - 146.000, Italy – 174.000, Germany – 178.000).

The Polish Prime Minister claims that the territory of Western Belarus historically belongs to Poland

The Polish Prime Minister stated that the future of Belarus was of fundamental importance for his country. According to his words, the western territories of Belarus historically belong to Poland. Warsaw has taken many concrete steps in order to support the Belarusian revolution: financial support for the victims of Belarusian authorities, invitation of Belarusian students to Poland, simplification of border crossing regulations, support for independent media and NGOs.

Disproof

This message is part of the Kremlin’s narrative accusing Poland of having an imperialist policy and making territorial claims against Ukraine and Belarus. In addition, this message contains a popular disinformation narrative about Western attempts to organise a colour revolution in Belarus and to disrupt Belarusian-Russian relations. It accuses Poland of a plan to intervene in the domestic affairs of Belarus, which is a severe violation of the principles of diplomacy and international relations.

There is no evidence that the Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki made the claims about the historical belonging of Belarusian territory to Poland and the Polish support for the Belarusian revolution. Poland fully supports the independence and territorial integrity of Lithuania, Belarus and Ukraine and stands for the development of a strategic partnership with these countries.

Poland calls upon NATO to establish a special military force to be used against Belarus

Polish civil servants are calling on NATO to establish special security forces from the armies of Poland and the Baltic states. According to their idea, this Army may be used to fight the Belarusian authorities.

Poland proposed to inspire an artificial economic crisis in Belarus in order to destroy the economy of this country, provoke devaluation and cause a shortage of goods.

Disproof

A recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about Western attempts to organise a colour revolution in Belarus and to disrupt Belarusian-Russian relations.

The claims that Poland and NATO are trying to “establish a special military force to be used against Belarus” is a conspiracy theory. Poland is a neighbour of Belarus and it continues to support the Belarusian people. Poland respects the principles of international law and does not intervene in the domestic affairs of any country.