Disinfo: The Polish Legions of Pilsudski organized the Volyn Tragedy


Pilsudski is a historical figure, who established the first Polish Legions, which fought on the side of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. These Legions organized the Volyn Tragedy.


This message is a part of the Kremlin’s policy of historical revisionism - this historical manipulation is an effort to falsify Polish history in general. The Volyn Tragedy is a difficult mark in Polish-Ukrainian relations, and as such it is exploited by pro-Kremlin outlets, in an attempt to deepen the divisions.

In the historical aspect, the statement that the “Polish Legions organized the Volyn Tragedy” is entirely ignorant. First of all, the Polish Legions existed throughout WWI (1914-1917/1918), while the Volyn Tragedy took place during WWII (1943-1944). The Polish Legions were established by Józef Piłsudski in August 1914 on the territory of Galicia - they became a formation of the Austro-Hungarian Army. Throughout 1917, the Austrian authorities disbanded the Legions as they refused to get subordinated to the German Army. After the proclamation of restoration of Poland's sovereignty (November 11, 1918), the soldiers and officers of the Polish Legions formed the core of the Polish Army.

The Volyn Tragedy took place throughout 1943-1944 when tens of thousands of Poles living in Volyn and Galicia regions were murdered or expelled by the Ukrainian militia forces. The Polish historiography presents this event as an act of genocide or a series of large-scale massacres against the Poles realized by the Ukrainian nationalists. The Ukrainian historiography presents this event as two-side ethnic cleansings taking place during the military conflict between the Polish and Ukrainian militia forces throughout WWII.

See other examples of the Russian historical revisionism concerning Poland here and here.


  • Reported in: Issue 166
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 23/09/2019
  • Language/target audience: Russian
  • Country: Ukraine, Poland
  • Keywords: Austria-Hungary, WWI, Historical revisionism, WWII, Genocide


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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