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Poles Record Strengthening of Russia’s Disinformation Campaign in 2020

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In 2020, Polish special services recorded an increase in the disinformation and propaganda activities of the Russian Federation against Poland. Both traditional and new narratives related to the pandemic and elections in Belarus were used, spokesperson of the Minister-Special Services Coordinator of Poland Stanisław Żaryn has said, Dziennik Gazeta Prawna reports.

“Russian narratives directed against our country have been disseminated by state institutions and actors, including top-level officials and the media outlets, which are under the control of the Kremlin or act in its interests,” Żaryn said.

He also noted that propaganda articles were published in many languages: Russian, English, Polish, etc. Some of these actions were accompanied by hacker attacks aimed at promoting the Kremlin’s thesis.

The spokesman stressed that “the Kremlin’s typical actions against the Republic of Poland include disregard for Poland on the international arena, weakening Poland’s relations with its neighbours, destabilising military cooperation within NATO, fueling tensions between Poland and the United States, attacking energy policy, attempts to undermine the authority of the Polish army, pointing out that Poland is imbued with ‘Russophobia,’ and presenting Poland as a country causing a crisis in relations between the West and Russia.

According to Żaryn, this year the Russian propaganda machine also used the topic of the COVID-19 pandemic, in particular to try to get out of international isolation. The Kremlin insisted that the West must work closely with Russia on a “normal” basis in light of the pandemic and to overcome the related crisis.

“Moscow put pressure on the West to force it to abandon the sanctions policy. Information activities during the COVID-19 pandemic were used to force the West to recognise the occupation of Crimea and the military operations carried out by the Russian side in eastern Ukraine,” the official said.

He added that another new phenomenon observed in 2020 was an information campaign aimed at deteriorating the image of Poland in the eyes of Belarusian society. In particular, both Moscow and Minsk narrated that Warsaw was allegedly trying to control public sentiments in Belarus and was even waiting for an opportune moment to seize part of the Belarusian territory.

Bohdan Marusyak

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