Historical revisionism or propaganda?

The significance of anti-Fascist sentiment in Montenegro and Montenegro’s contribution to the People’s Liberation War, in terms of overall victory over fascism, is immeasurable.

Montenegro celebrates the Statehood day to commemorate the day of July 13, 1878, when it was recognized as an independent country at the Berlin Congress, and of July 13, 1941, when the Montenegrin people called for uprising as a revolt against fascism.

In September this year, Poland celebrated the 80th anniversary of the greatest breakout of war, per reach and casualties, in the history of humanity. The Russian representatives were not present among more than 200 officials from 40 countries invited to participate in the commemoration. This provoked swift reactions of the Kremlin.

On the other hand, the Montenegrin President attended the ceremony, and he was the only one who pointed out that the whole event would be complete if Russia had been a part of it, given the role and the casualties the Soviet Union had and suffered.

Warsaw justified its decision by the actions of the Russian Federation, starting from its occupation of the Ukrainian territories, the elections meddling across the world, to impairing sovereignty and territorial integrity of other countries, and by Skripal case.

The Russian state media did not take long to direct, via TV shows such as the one of Dmitry Kiselev, its aimed and severe disinformation campaign against Poland. Our colleagues from DFRLab identified a series of anti-Polish narratives spread by Kremlin-owned media, anti-West politicians, and representatives of the Russian diplomatic missions abroad.

Following the model of the mentioned research, we decided to address the media outlets and players in the region dealing with the topic and to discover whether there were similarities in our media space.

Keywords Poland and war appeared in the online space of the region, in the period from August 25 to September 9 this year.

Was Poland a threat to the USSR?

As early as 2008, Vladimir Putin stated that the Molotov – Ribbentrop Pact was unacceptable from the moral pint of view, and useless and dangerous from the practical one. However, not only does the authority of the Russian Federation still deny the Soviet Union’s role in partitioning Poland and dividing Europe into the Nazi and Soviet sphere of influence but, according to the claims, also justifies the Pact.

As Sputnik Serbia wrote, and based on the alleged secret documents justifying certain decisions of the then military and political situation, notably the Molotov – Ribbentrop Pact, the most possible threat to the USSR at the time was not only the military alliance of Germany and Italy, but Poland, which was in orbit of the fascist block.

On the other hand, Belgrade’s Vecernje novosti stated that the document, Russians have access to, showed clearly that the backbone of the Polish doctrine and politics in 1938 was to dissolve Russia.

As proof of the Polish aggression, the IN4S portal recalled the Polish occupation of the Cieszyn Silesia in Czechoslovakia.

Russian and pro-Russian officials accusing the West of the beginning of the war

Precisely, the representatives of the diplomatic mission of the Russian Federation in Great Britain highlighted in September that before the breakout of World War II, the British politics approved the aggressive Nazi policy and consistently sabotaged the USSR’s ideas to create an effective anti-Hitler alliance, particularly to protect Poland.

Alexander Botsan-Kharchenko, a Russian Ambassador to Belgrade, said that it is impossible to delete the Western countries’ leniency with the reconstruction of the military power of Reich, their neutral stance on pro-fascism in Spain and their reservations about the Nazi Anschluss – the so-called policy of appeasement, which in turn was a policy of cynical agreement with Nazi Germany to direct its aggressive ambitions towards the East. 

However, during the Great Purge from 1936 to 1939, which comprised of political repression in the Soviet Union, around 110,000 Poles were murdered. The very event, as well as the Ribbentrop – Molotov Pact, made the Western allies see Soviets as non-credible partners.

Historical revisionism backed by NATO 

Maria Zakharova, rejected the Polish explanation for not-inviting Russia and claimed that the decision was directed by NATO. 

Keywords Poland and revision appeared in the online space of the region, in the period from August 25 to September 9 this year. Within this period, as many as 79 media articles were supporting the revisionist stance.

The Serbian Web-tribune portal explained this lack of invitation as a mental disorder. The story was joint by Dveri, the far-right political party. It is linked to Unite Continental, the Serbian-French brigade that participated in the war in Ukraine on the Russian side. The party stated that it is unimaginable for anyone to dare to underestimate the Serbian causalities in World War II and the undoubted contribution of Serbia to crush fascism. The chance that Russia was not invited as well, clearly indicates that NATO continues with its unscrupulous pressures, showing no respect for human right and causalities.

These and similar narratives represent a tendency to characterize Poland as a bad guy. The present authority of the Russian Federation negates the role of the Soviet Union in partitioning Poland and dividing Europe into Nazi and Soviet sphere of influence. Moreover, Kremlin characterizes Poland as an aggressor and a threat. While neglecting the fact that in 1939 Poland was under a joint attack of Germany and the Soviet Union: Germany on August 23 and the Soviet Union seventeen days later. Under the double aggression, the Polish resistance was quickly crushed. Soon after, the Soviet army made one of the greatest crimes against Poland. In Katyn Forest, it murdered 22 thousand Polish officers.