The Russians reached for the Katyn lie again – Russian historical disinformation

The Russian disinformation apparatus has focused again on lobbying historical falsifications relating to the events of World War II. In this case, Moscow once again reached for the Katyn lie, creating Poland as a state that ”falsifies history”.


In connection with the anniversary of the attack of the Third Reich on the USSR (June 22, 1941), as in the case of other anniversaries of events related to the history of the 20th century, the Russian side decided to refresh the disinformation narratives known from earlier periods. This time, Russian news portals made public information about “declassified evidence” indicating the “responsibility” of the Wehrmacht for the shooting of citizens of the Second Polish Republic near Katyn. Through publications such as “The Archive Declassified Nazi Testimony on the Execution of Poles in Katyn”, Moscow decided to reinforce the belief that the crimes attributed to the USSR are “Western provocations” and “acts of Russophobia”. In this context, not only was Poland pointed out as a country that “groundlessly” claims that the Soviet services were responsible for crimes against the Polish population, but the broader plot that currently (as in the 1940s) the West is creating provocations aimed at shifting responsibility for “other crimes” onto Russia.



In this context, materials devoted to the dismantling of Soviet monuments in Poland were also published. The common point of the message is the “provocative” and “Russophobic” policy of Warsaw, which is supposed to come down to depreciating the image of the USSR and Russia by creating the Soviet state as complicit in the outbreak of World War II.



We have repeatedly highlighted the fact that for Moscow, history is one of the tools to achieve its political goals. In this case, what we witness is the use of the Katyn lie to convince its own citizens that the West is pursuing an “aggressive policy” against Russia that consists of creating the Russian state as a structure guilty of the “sins” of the West. One of such alleged “sins” is considered to be the “inciting by the West” of the war in Ukraine.




Author: dr Michał Marek



Public task financed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland within thegrant comp etition “Public Diplomacy 2023”