Lieutenant General Andrzej Fałkowski, who is Poland's former military representative to NATO and EU military committees, has said the accusations by Russian President Vladimir Putin voiced against Poland in the context of history of World War II are an attempt to undermine Poland's credibility in the eyes of the global community, to sow splits within NATO and the EU, and also to shift public focus in Russia away from own government's economic and social performance.
"A lie that is repeated a thousand times becomes truth, as [Joseph] Goebbels said. Today we're talking about an attempt to undermine confidence in Poland in the eyes of the world community and the Kremlin's intentions to sow splits within the European Union and NATO. Putin seeks to portray Poland as supposedly the 'not-quite-right-part' of the West, while the very statements are part of propaganda preparations for the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz and the anniversary of the end of World War II," he told Guildhall, according to a report published in Russian.
"Putin is testing the West, playing the game within NATO and the EU, and trying, if possible, to undermine unity between the Allies and partners within alliances. I'm convinced they [Russians] were surprised by the joint rejection by the West of the narratives spread by Putin, since what really can be called into question is historical legacy of the Soviet Union. Obviously, the goal of these attacks on Poland is by no means history, but politics and economics. Thus, the lack of economic and social success in Russia is offset by the search for a common enemy, somewhere beyond, which, of course, always brings people together," Fałkowski said.
At a press conference on December 19, and then on December 24, at a collegium of the Russian Defense Ministry, Putin said the USSR had not occupied Poland in September 1939, but rather just sent troops there since the authorities had allegedly lost control of the situation. The Russian leader also claimed that Poland itself had been an aggressor, capturing part of Czechoslovakia in the autumn of 1938. In addition, Putin said the reason for the start of World War II was not the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, but the Munich Agreement of 1938. He branded a 'bastard and an anti-Semitic pig' pre-war Ambassador of Poland to Germany Józef Lipski.
At first, the Polish Foreign Ministry protested about Putin's statements and his attempt to rewrite history and justify Stalinist totalitarianism. Later, Ambassador of Russia to Poland Sergey Andreev was summoned to the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, where he was handed over a protest note regarding the statements of the Russian president.
On Sunday, during a media briefing, Prime Minister of Poland Mateusz Morawiecki emphasized that Putin's aggressive attacks on history have nothing to do with the historical past, but is an attempt to hide the latest problems and defeats of Russia: an unsuccessful attempt to completely subjugate Belarus, another extension of EU sanctions against Russia imposed for the illegal annexation of Crimea, defeat in the Normandy format negotiations, which not only did not bring the lifting of sanctions, but added further complications – from the United States, which significantly complicated the implementation of the Nord Stream 2 project, and Russian athletes were suspended from international competitions for four years in connection with the doping scandal.