Briefs

Poland: 22-28 August 2016

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A Polish right-wing web portal claims the leaders of France and Germany have changed their opinions about Russia.

Event:
On 26 August, the Polish web portal prawy.pl published an article by Karolina Maria Koter arguing that French President François Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel have softened their attitudes toward Russia.

False fact or narrative:
The article claims that Hollande asked the European Union to lift all the sanctions the EU had imposed on Russia, citing the ongoing crisis in Ukraine and the increasing differences of opinions among EU member states.

Reality:
On 30 August, Hollande—in a speech to French ambassadors. said the crisis in Ukraine had influenced relations with Russia. 

"In my opinion, that situation is regrettable, because it brings harm to all the parties, for example, by affecting common economic projects. Therefore, we are interested in finding the best solution to that situation," Hollande said, though he did not call for lifting EU sanctions—nor did he say anything to indicate he had changed his opinion on Russia’s actions in Ukraine. The article published by prawy.pl is consistent with interpretations of Hollande’s speech by the television network TVC and other pro-Kremlin media.

Techniques:
Denying the facts. The content of Hollande’s speech was changed on the basis of its isolated fragments, which were presented out of context.

Audience:
Polish public opinion.

Analysis:
The author hopes to convince his audience that the EU will soon shift its anti-Russia policy, since two of its most influential leaders have allegedly seen the light and have changed their attitude towards Moscow. He implies that Poland should, among other things, also abandon its current Russia policy by withdrawing its support for Ukraine—or face increasing isolation.