29 and 31 January 2016
On the youtube channel there appeared an audio material prepared by “Radio WPS Production”, an internet service conducted by Dariusz Kosiór and Paweł Ziemiński – the leaders of the ultra-nationalist organization “Wierni Polsce Suwerennej”.
A link to that material was also published on the blog
conducted by the organization.
A few days ago Ziemiński and Kosiór returned from Crimea, where they had been on a sightseeing tour of the peninsula at the invitation of the Russian organization called Polish-Russian Centre of Dialogue and Reconciliation (Polish: Polsko-Rosyjskie Centrum Dialogu i Zgody). On the tour they were accompanied by a group of pro-Russian activists and bloggers (among others, Mateusz Piskorski, an ex leader of the pro-Russian political party “Change” [Polish: “Zmiana”]). The visit lasted from 18 to 25 January 2016 and during the sojourn a few meetings took place with the authorities of Crimea and with the selected representatives of social organizations. Hence, the audio materials published on youtube were a part of the media relations which appeared in the Polish Internet as a result of that initiative.
In the Russian media the visit was broadly publicized and it was presented as a visit of Polish journalists to Crimea.
Here are some examples:
Besides, the accounts of the visit of the “journalists” to Crimea were broadcast by the Russian television network “5 Kanal” and by the Crimean television network NTS.
The presenting of Piskorski and his colleagues as “Polish journalists” was criticized
by the Association of Polish Journalists (Polish: Stowarzyszenie Dziennikarzy Polskich), the management of which association released a statement in that matter, ascertaining that the visitors could not be described as journalists, as none of them worked in that profession.
And the reaction to the aforementioned statement of the Association of Polish Journalists was exactly the “programme” published by Ziemiński and Kosiór on youtube. It polemicized with the content of the statement of the Association of Polish Journalists.
The audio material contained the following sentences:
“What does it mean that Russia is an aggressor there (i.e. in Crimea)? But there was a referendum in Crimea and the inhabitants declared themselves in favour of this and no other solution! They declared themselves in favour of returning to Russia. (...) It all happened without a shot”.
“Russia is searching for a formula which would alleviate the tensions between our countries (...) on the part of the Polish authorities the politics is unchanged (...) it wants to engage the representatives of the Russian opposition in the Polish-Russian dialogue. (...) it is a pointless activity”.
“There is an attempt to destabilize the situation in the country through the Tatar minority. It is a well-known American strategy (...) they want to create an anti-Russian fifth column out of them”.
“95 percent of the population of Crimea are Russians. If Crimea had not returned to Russia, the situation would have been tragic, suffice it to look at Donbass”.
“In our country the journalists may only be the people who receive a concession from the regime, whereas all the other people who would like to occupy themselves with journalism will never obtain the consent to it, therefore they may only deal with the independent Internet commentary work”.
As it is unable to directly influence the Polish media, the Russian propaganda reaches out to niche Internet websites, inviting their creators to visit, in the hope that those persons would then publicize the Russian point of view. On his return to Poland, Ziemiński indeed started to publicize in Poland the Russian outlook on the events which unfolded in the spring 2014 in Ukraine. He also declared that he would make a video in which he would present the truth about the situation on the peninsula to the Polish people. An in-depth material from the visit was published on the blogs
of the participants in the sightseeing tour and on the website: geopolityka.org
, belonging to the European Centre of Geopolitical Analyses (Polish: Europejskie Centrum Analiz Geopolitycznych), chaired by Mateusz Piskorski.
An important element of the Russian strategy is the questioning of the trust towards the so-called “mainstream media”, that is, in fact, towards the most important and most influential media, which coincides with the interests of similar activists, who gladly present themselves as the only truly independent and free journalists and commentary writers. Through them the Russian point of view is to become not only the propaganda of the Kremlin, but also the “voice of free journalists” or “dissidents” and in this manner it is to be more credible for the Polish public opinion.