Polish authorities issue 5-year entry bans against five alleged Russian ‘information war’ operatives involved in stoking Polish-Ukrainian animosity.
According to the public news agency Informacyjna Agencja Radiowa, two women, identified only as Yekaterina C. and Anastasia Z., were detained last week on allegations of involvement in ‘hybrid warfare’ activities.
A spokesperson for the Polish Internal Security Agency (ABW) stated that, along with the two detained persons, three other foreign citizens were handed 5-year bans on entering Poland, being accused of engaging in non-military influence operations aimed at furthering foreign interests. The ABW claimed to have ‘successfully neutralized’ two networks involved in promoting Russian interpretations of history with the aim to sow discord between Poles and Ukrainians in South-Eastern Poland. The investigation also targeted Polish citizens who had allegedly received funds and direct instructions from ‘Russian institutions closely linked to the […] authorities of the Russian Federation’.
For years, Poland has been a strong supporter of Ukraine’s Western aspirations, as well as of sanctions resulting from Russia’s intervention in Crimea and Eastern Ukraine. Recently, however, social media in Poland has witnessed an increasingly assertive disinformation campaign aiming to revisit and distort complex and controversial historical events and making use of already existing tensions inflamed by local nationalist, far-right groups.
Revision of history has been a recurrent tactic in the toolbox of pro-Kremlin disinformation campaigns, with the aim of inflaming potentially contentious issues between neighbouring states or ethnic groups. See such past examples already covered in our database: