Disinfo: The pre-war Polish leadership bears all the blame for the tragedy of this country during WWII

Summary

The blame for the tragedy that Poland then suffered lies entirely with the Polish leadership, which had impeded the formation of a military alliance between Britain, France and the Soviet Union and relied on the help from its Western partners, throwing its own people under the steamroller of Hitler’s machine of destruction.

Disproof

This message is part of the Kremlin’s policy of historical revisionism and an attempt to erode the disastrous historical role of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact and to reject the historical fact of the Soviet attack at Poland in September 1939. On August 23, 1939, Nazi Germany and the USSR signed the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact with the Secret Supplementary Protocol, which divided Poland and other Eastern European countries between these two totalitarian powers. On September 1, 1939, Nazi Germany attacked Poland and the Soviet Union attack at Poland started on September 17 – in this way, Nazi Germany and the USSR started the implementation of the Secret Supplementary Protocol to the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact. In other words, it was the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact that put Poland “under the steamroller of Hitler's machine of destruction” during WWII. Read similar examples of the Russian historical revisionism concerning this issue - Signing of the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact thwarted the UK’s expansionist plans in Europe, The Molotov-Ribbentrop pact did not violate the rights of the Polish state, The shift of all blame for WWII outbreak at the Ribbentrop-Molotov pact the best example of manipulation of history.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 202
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 19/06/2020
  • Language/target audience: Polish
  • Country: Russia, Germany, Poland
  • Keywords: Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, USSR, Historical revisionism, WWII, Adolf Hitler, Vladimir Putin, Nazi/Fascist

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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The USSR incorporated Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia in a legal way

In autumn 1939, the Soviet Union, pursuing its strategic military and defensive goals, started the process incorporating Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia. Their accession to the USSR was implemented on a contractual basis, with the consent of the elected authorities. This was in line with international and state law of that time.

Disproof

This disinformation message is a part of the Kremlin's historical revisionism campaign – it denies that the Soviet occupation of the Baltic states ever happened. On 23 August 1939, the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany signed a non-aggression (Molotov-Ribbentrop) pact whose secret protocols divided the territories belonging to Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Finland, and Romania into Soviet and Nazi spheres of influence. The Baltic States were not beneficiaries of the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact. Like other countries mentioned in the pact, they lost their independence and territories. Soviet occupation of the Baltic States lasted for 50 years and resulted in mass deportations and repressions against local populations. On 24 December 1989, the Parliament of the USSR, the Congress of the People’s Deputies, adopted a resolution, acknowledging the annexation of the Baltic states as a violation of the USSR's obligations. An English translation of the full text can be found here: The Congress notes that during this period the relations of the USSR with Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia were regulated by a system of treaties. Pursuant to the 1920 Peace Treaties and 1926-1933 Non-Aggression Treaties, the signatories were obliged to honour each other’s sovereignty, territorial integrity and inviolability under any circumstances. The Soviet Union had assumed similar obligations to Poland and Finland. See similar disinformation narratives on this issue - The Baltic states benefited from the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact; The Baltic states are perpetuating the myth of the Soviet occupation and The Baltic states refuse to celebrate the victory over fascism.

A two-day visit of Ribbentrop to the USSR could not be the reason for WWII outbreak

it is unfair to claim that the two-day visit to Moscow of Nazi Foreign Minister Ribbentrop was the main reason for the start of the Second World War.

Disproof

This message is part of the Kremlin’s policy of historical revisionism and an attempt to erode the disastrous historical role of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact by the statements that the USSR was forced to sign this pact; other European countries signed various international agreements with Adolf Hitler, Munich Agreement triggered WWII and various historical conspiracies saying that the Western democracies wanted to inspire a war between Nazism and Communism. A “two-day” visit of Ribbentrop to the USSR resulted in the signing of the Secret Supplementary Protocol to the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, which assumed the partition of Central and Eastern Europe between Nazi Germany and the USSR. This Secret Protocol was the direct reason for the outbreak of WWII - the signing of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact enabled the German and Soviet military aggression against Poland in September 1939, triggering the beginning of WWII. Read similar examples of the Russian historical revisionism concerning this issue - Signing of the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact thwarted the UK’s expansionist plans in Europe, The Molotov-Ribbentrop pact did not violate the rights of the Polish state, The shift of all blame for WWII outbreak at the Ribbentrop-Molotov pact the best example of manipulation of history.

MH17 investigation is deliberately delayed

The Dutch tribunal deliberately delays the investigation [of the MH17 disaster]. Investigators make every effort not to find out the real cause of this disaster but to fulfill Washington’s political order.

Disproof

The report advances recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation about the downing of flight MH17 and the subsequent Joint International Investigation and criminal trial at the Dutch criminal tribunal. The purpose of the criminal investigation is to establish the facts of the case, determine the truth of what happened, identify those responsible for downing flight MH17 and gather criminal evidence for prosecution. The MH17 criminal proceedings are regulated according to the Dutch Code of Criminal Procedure. The proceedings is coordinated by the Dutch Public Prosecution Service that leads the investigation and monitors whether the investigation is conducted carefully and fairly. Only the public prosecutor decides if and when a case will be brought before the court. Therefore, the case could be brought before the court only when all relevant information is gathered, evidence collected, and suspects identified. Taking into consideration the international character of the disaster, the JIT was established to conduct the criminal inquiry. The JIT comprises officials from the Dutch Public Prosecution Service and the Dutch police, along with police and criminal justice authorities from Australia, Belgium, Malaysia, and Ukraine. The Joint Investigation Team collected forensic evidence from debris, soil samples, taped phone conversations and other evidence. Full description of how the investigation was conducted is available in the JIT's report. The investigation is operated in accordance with the standards and recommended practices in ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organisation) Annex 13. The state of of occurrence (Ukraine) has delegated the investigation to the Dutch Safety Board. To this end, agreements were set out in a Memorandum of Understanding between Ukraine and The Netherlands, and in an agreement between the Ukrainian National Bureau of Incidents and Accidents Investigation of Civil Aircraft (NBAAII) and the Dutch Safety Board. The Dutch Safety Board is leading the investigation and co-ordinating the international team of investigators. In March 2020, the first three sessions of the court took place. In later March the court decided to suspend the trial to give defence lawyers more time to prepare. The hearings were resumed in June 2020. In the opening session, held on 9 March 2020, the public prosecutor has brought charges against the four suspects and provided an explanation of the case to the court. On 8 June, when the hearings were resumed, the prosecutors presented the various investigations and explained how these were conducted. Prosecutors also presented investigation of telecommunications, radar and satellite data, explained the main and alternative scenarios. It is not yet known how long the tril will last. The duration of a trial depends on many different factors, such as the number of defendants, whether they attend the hearings, the nature of the crime, and what investigative activities the defence wishes to be carried out. The legal aspects of the trial are explained here. See more disinformation cases on MH17.