Disinfo: Polish authorities fight the memory of fallen Soviet soldiers

Summary

Russia calls upon the Polish authorities to stop their fight against the memory of the fallen Soviet soldiers and to implement real steps regarding the fight with vandalism.

Disproof

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

In 2017, Poland introduced new laws to ban totalitarian propaganda. According to this Law, up to 230 Soviet monuments may be replaced, a decision to be made by Polish local authorities. The Polish MFA underlines that Red Army burial places and cemeteries situated 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 to the Russians, where 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 generals, who were involved in military crimes against the Poles.

The Polish Government does not implement the 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 - Monuments to Soviet soldiers are massively demolished and damaged in Ukraine, Poland and Baltic countriesRemoval of the monument to Marshall Konev is a violation of the Czech-Russian Agreement of 1993A monument to the Soviet soldier-liberator demolished in Lithuania.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 197
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 14/05/2020
  • Language/target audience: Polish
  • Country: Russia, Poland
  • Keywords: Diplomacy with Russia, USSR, Red Army, Anti-Russian, Monuments, Maria Zakharova, WWII, Russophobia
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Disproof

This claim is in line with a recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative alleging that Russophobia and anti-Russian attitudes are rampant in countries of the former Soviet Union; especially in cases where those countries receive Western support. Pro-Kremlin media often portray former Soviet countries as "Russophobic" for taking steps to protect and prioritise their national languages, which were suppressed for decades through the linguistic imperialism strategy of Russification during the Soviet period. Ukraine is a particularly common target of these narratives, among other countries.

The Central Electoral Commission of the Republic of Moldova proposed a draft amendment to the Electoral Code in order to improve electoral practices. The drafting of the amendments was funded by USAID through the project ”Enhancing democracy in Moldova through inclusive and transparent elections”, implemented in 2017-2020 by UNDP Moldova. The draft contains 15 amendments, one of which concerns the proposal to print ballots only in Romanian, Moldova's state language, and not in Russian in elections where the ballots just contain the name of the candidate. "Standardisation of the text in the state language would significantly optimise the resources, including human resources, needed to accomplish this [electoral] process,” says the explicative note of the project. Ballots in Russian would continue to be printed in cases of a referendum, where voters have to read and respond to a question. The project is exposed to public debate.

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Disproof

Recurring misinformation related to the 2019-nCoV coronavirus. 

New Jersey’s Belleville Mayor Michael Melham believes he caught the novel coronavirus in November, he claimed he caught the virus at a convention, but his doctor back then had diagnosed him with a bad case of the flu. He didn’t have a proper COVID-19 test, but a blood test revealed he had Coronavirus antibodies that suggest but do not confirm that he had a type of coronavirus, which shouldn't necessarily be the COVID-19 virus.

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Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative denying that any Russian media have been involved in spreading disinformation about the coronavirus and aiming to portray any outside criticism of Russia as a symptom of "Russophobia".

The European External Action Service has issued special reports listing and detailing disinformation narratives related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The number of individual cases is approaching 500 (as of 18 May 2020), and each debunk can be accessed through the EUvsDisinfo database.