Russian propaganda tries to smear Poland: security official

Russian propaganda is continuing in its efforts to trash the reputation of Poland, Stanisław Żaryn, the head of Poland’s National Security Department, told the Polish Press Agency (PAP) on Wednesday.

He went on to add that the Russian propaganda attacks on Poland are part of the Kremlin’s multi-pronged disinformation campaign.

The Kremlin's information activities are still focused on three vectors: disparaging Ukraine and Ukrainians, portraying support for Ukraine as an escalatory factor, and scaring people with the vision of Poland entering the war and its possible consequences,” he said.

According to Żaryn, the Russians are striving to permanently mar Poland's image. To pull it off, the official said, they present Poland in a false light as an adventuristic state in the region, waging a proxy war with Russia on Ukrainian territory, and as a country with a plan to seize part of Ukrainian territory.

“Recently, after a certain period of calm, the Kremlin's propaganda again persistently circulates disinformation content about the alleged mass participation of Polish mercenaries in the fighting in Ukraine,” he said.

“Such a change is consistent with Russia's clear departure from the propaganda narrative of a ‘special military operation’ against one foe – Ukraine. Now the Kremlin's message suggests that this is in fact a defensive war for Russia in a conflict with the West, especially the US, the UK and Poland,” Żaryn told PAP.

He felt that the Russians have also recurred to promulgating information schemed to instil fear of its armed forces.

“That is why they publish dramatic photos of attacks on Ukrainian positions, materials showing the transports of heavy combat equipment and masses of soldiers moving towards Ukraine,” the official said.

The Kremlin's influence apparatus has also begun to shape the false myth of the 'Second Patriotic War' in its own society – in this way it seeks to develop the perception that the current 'conflict' is just as difficult, significant, and a threat to Russia's security as World War II was,” he continued.

These tactics, he elaborated, fit in with the Kremlin's desire to familiarise the public with the vision of a long-term war or psychologically prepare it for further waves of mobilisation.

Fake map showing ‘imperialist Poland’ circulated on the net

Russia’s latest fake out of its informational warfare toolbox has recently made a splash on the net eliciting guffaws from some and raising eyebrows of others.

This time it took the form of a weather forecast map presented by Poland’s public broadcaster TVP, showing Poland’s territory including that of western Ukraine, roughly overlapping that of the Second Polish Republic, i.e., pre-WWII Poland.

No such map has ever been aired on TVP. The TVP channel HD 1 logo had been pasted onto the image. While the weatherwoman is a real media personality forecasting weather for the Polish Catholic TV Trwam channel, her silhouette was cropped out of TV Trwam’s weather forecast and pasted into a map resembling that used by TVP. This map provides an instance of Russian manipulation designed to disinform and wear down the Ukrainian society’s trust in Poland.

Poland has no intention of violating Ukraine’s territory. All that Poland has been doing since the outset of the Russian invasion, namely welcoming Ukrainian refugees, calling for implementing sweeping sanctions against Russia, drumming up support for Ukraine and calling for weapons deliveries to the embattled country, clearly disproves this foul deception.

Russian social media channels, however, are lavishly sharing the map.

‘LGBTQ+ forces’

But Russian operatives went as far as to suggest that the Polish Army could now be establishing special LGBT forces.

Russia’s propaganda machine did so via TVP’s video footage showing the Polish Army marching during a military parade. However, a voice-over that can be heard saying “Poland may create LGBT forces in the Polish Army. Polish authorities do not oppose the creation of units consisting of lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender persons,” which was added by Russian operatives. No such report has ever been aired by TVP. Russia has long been pretending to be the protector of conservative values, the sole bulwark standing against the wave of leftist Western ideals and an “effeminate West”. A spin-off of that narrative was promulgated in the context of Russia’s war in Ukraine, this time suggesting that by invading Ukraine Russia is saving it from westernisation and from being forced to embrace the LGBT ideology.

For his part, Żaryn said that the Kremlin’s propaganda has been constantly trying to justify the mass mobilisation and sending its men to the frontlines. “The military suggests that NATO countries, including Poland, want to directly participate in the war in Ukraine,” Żaryn wrote.

He said that Russian military propagandists were continuing an anti-Polish information campaign in feeding this thread of an alleged military threat from Poland.

“Retired Russian general and MP Andrey Gurulyov tries convincing the Russian Federation authorities to prepare a mobilisation reserve in an event of Poland’s direct intervention in Ukraine,” Żaryn said.