Russia and Belarus casting Poland as the enemy

During a meeting at the beginning of the week, the presidents of Russia and Belarus, Vladimir Putin and Alexander Lukashenka, repeated a narrative often used in Kremlin and Minsk propaganda since the beginning of the war which casts Poland as an aggressive state that wants to gain control over the Ukrainian and Belarusian territories which belonged to Poland before the Second World War. What is behind this?

Polityka (PL) /

Putin’s propaganda doesn’t make sense

Putin paints a contradictory picture of Poland, Polityka notes:

“To each their own — in Putin’s narrative one minute the Poles are decisive warmongers but in the next they are both tools and victims of the machinations of the mythical ‘collective West’. Putin portrays Poland both as Kyiv’s dominator, inciting its innocent citizens against Russia, and as the enforcer of the Americans’ will. ... It is of course not true that Polish governments, regardless of their political provenance, could seek a partition of Ukraine. This is just as much a lie as the claim that the Ukrainian government is illegitimate or that it is handing Ukraine over to Poland.”

Piotr Łukasiewicz (UA) /

Each with their own agenda

Lukashenka and Putin are pursuing their own agenda, writes former Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin on

“For Putin, it is important to mobilise his domestic audience, which, as we know, sees the Poles as enemies. He also realises that Ukraine and Poland will at any rate form the core of a new strategy to contain Russia. He will repeat this again and again to try to sow discord between our countries. ... Things are more interesting with Lukashenka, who is fighting to stay in power and secure guarantees for himself. Many believe that the stationing of tactical nuclear weapons and Wagner troops in Belarus has actually significantly strengthened his position. ... But the nuclear weapons and Wagner will probably never become Belarusian.”

Pavlo Klimkin
Delfi (LV) /

The painful wedge in bilateral relations suspects that the contradictory view of the World War II Volhynia massacres in the two countries will be further exploited by the Russian side for propaganda purposes:

“It seems that the leaders of Poland and Ukraine have managed to reach a common opinion that history should not have any influence on the ‘strategic aspect of relations’ between the two countries. As the former president of Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko, pointed out, ‘there is only one side that benefits from the historical conflicts between Ukraine and Poland, and that is neither Ukraine nor Poland, but Russia’.”

Āris Jansons