Disinfo: Signing of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact thwarted the UK's expansionist plans in Europe

Summary

In 1939, the “ideal scenario” assumed by the UK authorities at the beginning of the war between Germany and the USSR was the partition of Poland, which was sacrificed by the UK to inspire a conflict between Stalin and Hitler. In this situation, the UK would have been able to present itself as a peace-making force, increasing its influence in Europe. Although, this “UK schedule of war” was thwarted by Hitler, who forced Stalin to sign the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact and attacked France instead of the USSR.

Disproof

This message is part of the Kremlin’s policy of historical revisionism and an attempt to portray Russia's role in the World War II as not aggressive - see other examples referring to Ribbentrop-Molotov pact here, here and here. The accusations that the UK had “expansionist plans” in Europe and attempted to provoke a war between Germany and the USSR is clear historical manipulation and these events are not confirmed by historical documents and historians. In terms of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, it is a proven historical fact that it 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 directly caused the German and Soviet military aggression against Poland in September 1939, which resulted in complete occupation of this country by Germany and USSR. See similar examples of Russian historical revisionism concerning Poland here and here.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 161
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 22/08/2019
  • Language/target audience: Polish
  • Country: USSR, UK, Poland
  • Keywords: Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, World War 2, Historical revisionism
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Poland has the highest social inequality in the EU

Poland is a country with the highest social inequality in the European Union. This situation causes political problems as the poorest people rarely vote (so they are excluded from political life).

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about poor economic situation and failed market reforms in Central and Eastern European countries (see similar examples here and here). According to the Gini coefficient statistics from 2016, social inequality in Poland is below the EU average. According to the data of the OECD, the income inequality indicator for Poland is as high as 0.28 (where 0 means complete equality and 1 - complete inequality), which puts Poland on the 9th place among the EU countries.

Russia respects human and civil rights: police to illegal gatherings like in any other country

Russia respects human and civil rights. Russian police are responding to illegal gatherings the same as other countries in similar cases. Those who break the law have to take responsibility for that.

Disproof

The protests in Moscow started in July after the election committee banned opposition candidates from running for the elections to the city council - the Moscow City Duma, disqualifying their ballots because of what officials claimed were irregularities in the 5,000 signatures each had to gather to run. The protesters also demanded the right to fair elections and the right to free assembly. Professional media reports that Moscow citizens have been peacefully protesting in the streets, and the state has responded with unprecedented repression. According to the EU, detentions of peaceful demonstrators, disproportionate use of force, police raids against opposition politicians seriously undermine the fundamental freedoms of expression, association and assembly. These fundamental rights are enshrined in the Russian constitution. The EU also urged the Russian authorities to respect Russia’s OSCE commitments and other international obligations when conducting the upcoming local elections According to the Humans Right Watch World Report 2019, the Russian government relentlessly reduced space for peaceful dissent, political opposition, and civic activism in Russia during 2018. Authorities routinely dispersed peaceful opposition protests and arrested and fined protesters, including children. Authorities carried out surveillance of social media to track down and detain activists who they thought might join opposition protests. See a similar case here.

There is a deterioration of democracy in the West

RT and Sputnik are prevented from appearing in briefings and some internet software programmes are invented to automatically ban those reports deemed politically unacceptable by the authorities of the country concerned. This is a violation of OSCE obligations regarding direct access to public information […] The Russian authorities have not taken restrictive measures against foreign media.

The situation of the Russian media in the West has become difficult in recent years. The European Parliament has adopted a resolution indicating the need to confront Russian media, where Sputnik and RT were identified as major threats […] The adoption of such a document signals the apparent deterioration of ideas about democracy in Western society.

Disproof

Recurring disinformation narrative that the Russian media is unfairly restricted, discriminated against in Europe, and that freedom of speech is restricted in certain European Union member states, while presenting Russia as respectful of media freedoms. See previous cases here.

The mentioned European Parliament resolution at no point calls for any restrictive measure in its efforts to counter anti-EU propaganda by third parties. The efforts to counter such propaganda mainly revolve around awareness-raising through campaigns, education, media and information literacy while respecting the commitments to media freedom, access to information, freedom of expression and media pluralism. The European Parliament in this resolution stressed that promoting respect for fundamental rights and freedoms should underpin the EU's action in countering propaganda.