In spite of relatively limited activity concerning Poland, Russian disinformation centres attempt to belittle the image of Poland and Polish people by referring to emotions that intensify around the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In this context, Moscow tries to use pro-Palestinian manifestations that took place in Poland to portray Poland as having an “antisemitic” attitude. To give credence to this narrative, Russians consider posters/slogans filled with antisemitic features as useful.
In the period from 20 until 23 October 2023, the Russian disinformation apparatus published a series of materials that referred to the above-mentioned matter. On the one hand, Russians have informed their citizens about the existence of two manifestations referred to as “anti-Israeli”, and on the other, commented on the reaction of the President of the Republic of Poland (critics of one of the slogans) to the antisemitic poster used during the demonstration. Both the poster and reaction have been used to “prove” the existence of “deeply rooted” antisemitism in the Polish nation. This operation refers to attempts to disregard Poland both in Russia and internationally.
The attempt to portray Poland as an antisemitic country has been made many times in the last couple of years. It happens to be associated with “Russophobia” that allegedly prevails in Poland. Both these terms used in relation to Poland serve to portray our country as xenophobic and tending to persecute ethnic groups and representatives of nations that resided in the areas of the First and Second Polish Republic. Such measures are intended to make an impression that Poland is a fascist nation filled with hatred towards groups of different cultural origins. By propagating the aforesaid information, Moscow tries to build a contrast between “antisemitic” Poland and Russia that is “open to all nations”. Such a narrative is frequently associated with messages that belittle Poland in light of historical events. Putting forward the story of the “historical roots of Polish antisemitism”, Moscow attempts to show the First and Second Polish Republics as countries whose liquidation proved “favourable” for the whole of Europe (an attempt to justify the imperial policy of the Russian state).
In the context of the current activity of our adversary, we can expect further endeavours to take similar measures with a view to destroying the reputation of Poland on an international scale. Any contentious phrase (said during protests) or antisemitic remarks made by people who have an impact on Polish media would most likely be exploited by Russians to support their stories.
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”