All Roads Lead to Poland

Poland, one of the staunchest supporters of Ukraine, has long been among the favourite targets of pro-Kremlin disinformers and past weeks have been no exception to the rule. Interestingly, Russia did not attack Poland directly, but rather using Belarus, Poland’s Kremlin-minded eastern neighbour.

By EUvsDisinfo | January 25, 2024

A three-course meal for Polish audiences

Let’s start off with an entree well past its due date. The Polish-language edition of Pravda, the successor and namesake of the official newspaper of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, claimed that Poland destroyed bilateral relations with Belarus by applying EU sanctions. This is an oft-repeated pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative, mirroring the claims of Belarusian authorities, about an allegedly belligerent Poland.

At the heart of the claim lies the backward idea that Poland is plotting against Belarus and its citizens and trying to destabilise and destroy the country. While it is true that Belarus is under EU sanctions, those sanctions were applied because of the regime’s ongoing crackdown against civil society in the country and Belarus’s involvement in Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine. Blaming Poland for that takes some imagination.

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All roads lead to Poland — EUvsDiSiNFO

As the heavy main dish, Pravda asserted that Poland aims to provoke a nuclear war with Russia. In June 2023, Polish authorities did express their willingness to join NATO’s nuclear sharing mechanism, but that was nothing more than a reaction to a previous Russian plan to deliver tactical nuclear weapons to Belarus. Poland is often framed by the pro-Kremlin disinformation apparatus as an aggressive anti-Russian NATO ‘outpost’ which poses a security threat to Russia. This is in line with a broader trend of Russia portraying NATO and the collective West as aggressive towards it.

For dessert, pro-Kremlin disinformers opted for a tasting platter that also includes the Baltics. They claimed that Poland and the Baltic states are training anti-Belarusian, illegally armed groups. This fits within a pattern of pro-Kremlin disinformation narratives about supposed Western attempts to organise a colour revolution in Belarus. Poland does continue to support the Belarusian people living under President Lukashenka’s repressive autocratic regime, while fully respecting the principles of international law.

The Anglo-Saxons are at it again

In their Georgian– and Armenian-language outlets, Sputnik declared that then-British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and other Anglo-Saxons banned Kyiv from signing a settlement agreement with Russia back in the spring of 2022. This is a central angle in Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine – selling the bit of make-believe that Russia is the peace-loving victim and Ukraine an aggressive puppet in the hands of the belligerent West.

There is no evidence to back up that claim , which was quickly debunked by Myth Detector, among other fact-checking organisations. In fact, Putin and the Kremlin have a proven track record of pretending to offer negotiations which are, in fact, just blunt demands for Ukraine’s unconditional surrender. We have analysed this disinfo tactic in several earlier articles.

A broader response to Russia’s information manipulation efforts

Exposing Russia’s lies and raising awareness via EUvsDisinfo day in and day out is just one of EEAS’s answers to foreign information manipulation and interference (FIMI). On Tuesday, the EEAS released its second report on FIMI threats. This iteration builds on the first report’s conceptual framework, while proposing concrete steps for a better collective response.

Summarising 750 information manipulation incidents uncovered by the EEAS over the last year, one trend is impossible to overlook – foreign actors have carried on with their intentional, strategic, and coordinated attempts to manipulate facts, to confuse, and to sow division, fear, and hatred. In other words, Russia, China, and other threat actors have continued their hostile interference activities, including spreading disinformation.


Other cases on EUvsDisinfo’s radar this week:

  •, a pro-Kremlin outlet targeting the Armenian audience, claimed that Armenia is being dragged into an association with the EU, which is in turn run by a Masonic lodge. This recurring theme in pro-Kremlin disinformation aims to discredit the dialogue and cooperation of Armenia with the EU and its member states. The claim about the Masonic lodge, on the other hand, fits into a broader pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about secret global elites that dominate the world, control governments, rob nations of their sovereignty, oppress the masses , and seek to establish a world government.
  • The French edition of Pravda framed the fact that Russia turned off the heat in some prisons to nudge prisoners to go to fight in Ukraine as a joke by Ukraine. In fact, the information originates from Olga Romanova, the head of ‘Russia Behind Bars’, a Russian NGO defending the rights of prisoners. The German media outlet Bild, in its Russian edition, also reported on this story.

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