By Stanisław Żaryn, for StopFake
Recent attempts to undermine the truth about the Soviet responsibility for the Katyn Massacre are part of a policy of distorting history, which is dangerous not only for Poland. Russia’s actions cannot be taken lightly.
The Russian Federation is conducting a constant information fight against Poland. One of the important areas of these activities is manipulating the image of the past. Recent announcement by Alexei Chep, a deputy of the lower house of the Russian parliament is in line with this process. Mr. Chep expressed his readiness to initiate the cancellation of the parliamentary resolution on Katyn adopted in 2010, confirming the responsibility of the USSR for the Katyn Massacre and the fact that it was carried out on the orders of Joseph Stalin. There are no doubts – that’s a part of Russia’s planned approach to history.
The main message of the Russian Federation focuses on the theses about the “liberation” activity of the Red Army during World War II. All of Russia’s historical policy is dominated by this false image. Modern Russian imperialism is based on it. The Kremlin is trying to show that history gives Russia the right to be the world’s peacekeeper – because it was Moscow that saved the world from the threat posed by Nazi Germany. For Russia, this message is so important that the Kremlin systematically distorts the Soviet and Russian crimes committed against other nations. These facts don’t fit to Russian story. What’s obvious, Kremlin’s lies affect Poles – Poles have been very often attacked by Russia in recent years on the basis of lies about history.
To build a message about Russia’s legitimacy to pursue imperial policy, Moscow is lying about Soviet crimes against Poles, such as the Katyn Massacre, during which over 20 K of Poles (they all were POW’s) were murdered in 1940 – by order of Stalin. Russian propaganda is trying to manipulate the image of this terrible genocide to blur the Kremlin’s responsibility. Russia is also trying to distort the image of Stalin himself, who, by cooperating with Hitler, is jointly responsible for the outbreak of World War II. Stalin-Hitler cooperation, Moscow and Berlin cooperation during World War II, Stalin’s crimes against other nations, such as Terror-Famine – these are topics that Russia is erasing from public debate and awarness. The Kremlin does this consciously, cynically lying about the circumstances of the German-Russian attack on Poland in September 1939, about Soviet crimes before during and beyond the Second World War, and by presenting its war offensive of 1944-45 as the liberation of Poland and other nations in CEE. Russia is trying to replace history with a lie that suits its political needs.
Unfortunately, in many countries there is a fertile ground for Russia’s actions designed to manipulate history, thanks to which the Kremlin’s theses gain wider resonance. Some audiences spread Russian lies deliberately, others do not identify the real goals of the Russian historical offensive and are unaware of being involved in promoting dangerous narratives. Quite often media falls also into the trap of presenting Russian messages as “the Russian version of history.” Such action may lead to the viewers becoming convinced that there are two equal versions of the story – Russian and non-Russian. This is a serious mistake due to the lack of understanding that Russia’s actions in the area of history are part of an imperial policy that poses a real threat. Lies about history are the elements of Russian hostile attitude to the West, which contains also hybrid military aggression, military pressure and provocations, violations of airspace and territorial waters, disinformation, political aggression, energy pressure, hacker attacks, intelligence offensive and different measures below classic military campaign.
During its activities the Kremlin reaches also for formal and political decisions. The aboved announcement by Alexei Chep is one of the examples. Russian politicians announced similar initiative regarding a resolution criticizing the signing of the Hitler-Stalin Pact. The agreement that opened the way for the attack on Poland in 1939 is a very inconvenient matter for the Kremlin. Truth about Katyn, mentioned Pact and other Soviet violations disprove Russian main “myth” about Soviet “glorious history”. That is why Moscow is lying louder and louder.
By Stanisław Żaryn, for StopFake
Spokesperson of the Minister-Special Services Coordinator
Head of National Security Department in the Chancellery of Poland’s PM