Briefs

Poland: 29 August - 4 September

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A Polish political commentator accuses Ukraine’s secret service of trying to carry out an armed provocation in Crimea on 7-8 August 2016, and says the CIA and Poland orchestrated the Maidan movement.

Event: On 26 August 2016, the web portal Myśl Polska [Polish Thought] published an article, “Playing with Matches,” by journalist Bohdan Piętka, analyzing the 23-24 August visit of Polish President Andrzej Duda to Ukraine. In Kyiv, Duda and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko signed a declaration of friendship between the two countries. Duda also attended a Ukrainian Independence Day military parade and pledged support for Ukraine’s Euro-Atlantic aspirations. 

The false facts or narrative: Piętka argues that the absence of other heads of state—apart from Duda—during the celebrations in Kyiv reflects Ukraine’s international isolation. That isolation has only increased, writes Piętka, quoting the Polish-language version of Russian state-owned web portal Sputnik, since a failed provocation by the Ukrainian secret services in Crimea during the night of 7-8 August 2016. According to Russia’s FSB, Ukrainian commandos tried to carry out a series of terrorist acts but were taken prisoner.

Elsewhere, Piętka writes that in the opinion of Duda and Poroshenko, “Russia’s aggression on Ukraine and the occupation of a part of its territory” have caused today’s challenges and threats. He says this is an extremely propagandistic statement, far from the truth, and that it ignores the most important facts—namely, the fact that Ukraine crisis sprang up from the Maidan revolution, which was inspired by the United States and Germany, with active Polish involvement.

Reality on the ground: On 10 August, the Russian FSB announced that it had arrested a group of terrorists who allegedly were preparing attacks against Crimea on orders of Ukraine’s secret services. The Ukrainian authorities denied any involvement, with Poroshenko calling the FSB allegations a “figment of imagination” and the West rejecting the charges outright. The fact that Russia so far has not presented any evidence indicating that Ukraine was behind the attacks suggests that such evidence does not exist. Nor is there any proof that Western special services organized the Maidan events.

Techniques: 
  • Reporting false facts,
  • selecting only facts that fit the preconceived thesis, 
  • presenting opinions as facts.

Audiences: Polish public opinion.

Analysis: By quoting Russian propaganda, Pietka hopes to convince Polish public opinion that Poland’s policy towards Ukraine should be changed into one that is more consistent with Russia’s interests.