On the last day of 2019 –aside from wishing you a happy new decade – we present you our annual report for the current year. We also offer some of our thoughts on the current Polish-Russian diplomatic crisis, and we invite you to share your insights on this matter. Our full analysis will be published sometime after Epiphany.
1. In the annual report, we present a detailed statement detailing the legal and anti-defamatory activities of RDI. 2019 was a year of extraordinary legal successes. Among them were two victories over Ringier Axel Springer in which the publisher was forced to pay 100,000 zł in restitution after being found guilty of insulting Polish women. Onet.pl was further directed to post an apology on its webpage for a week; the apology had to cover at least ¼ of the screen. The apology had to be dedicated to Mr. Krystian Brodacki whose own mother had been insulted by the German-owned Onet.pl. The site had used a photograph of women being executed by the Germans during the Palmiry Massacres to illustrate a story about prostitution during the German occupation.
Aside from defending the good name of Poland in the courts of law, we were also very active elsewhere:
– We sent out 70 newsletters, reaching 5,545,194 people
– We published 57 articles on our website www.rdi.org.pl
– 194,910 people visited www.rdi.org.pl this year
– We published 458 tweets on Twitter, and were followed by 10,292 people
– We published 165 posts on Facebook, where we are liked by 19,397 people and observed by 19,556
– We sent out 275 requests for correction. Our requests were followed up on in 170 cases.
– We published 4 editions of our magazine “Reduta Online”
The report can be downloaded by clicking on the link on the bottom of this page.
We invite you to have a look!
2. Putin’s recent attack on Polish history is not his first one, which shows once again that for Moscow, history is a yet another battlefield in its campaign of disinformation. From the introduction of the report:
“As a principle, historical policy is an essential component of most if not all states’ internal but also foreign policies. A serious historical policy is supported is consistent with a state’s interests, and is thus supported by the all possible means. This enables the country to have an impact on international politics it otherwise would not have.”
When standing up to Soviet-era informational warfare, it is essential to respond with a measured, thought-out historical policy. The latest crisis has demonstrated that it is not simply enough to tell the truth about Polish suffering and heroism. Any successful Polish historical policy also has to tell the greater truth about communism and its murderous legacy. Such an anti-communist direction is in my opinion essential to push back against the disinformation spread by people like Putin, who for the most part is simply reiterating old Soviet propaganda from 1939 that was used to justify Stalin’s alliance with Hitler and later easily allowed the Western Allies’ to renege on their promises to Poland at Yalta and Potsdam. In particular, accusations of Polish anti-Semitism have time and time again featured prominently in Soviet propaganda whenever Poland did anything significant that ran counter to the wishes of the Kremlin.
Thankfully, the international reaction to Putin’s statements has been rather positive, especially following the release of Prime Minister Morawiecki’s statement. Aside from international media, foreign countries such as Germany and the USA – via public statements of their ambassadors – reaffirmed the historical truth and thus stood by Poland’s side. If Putin’s attack was intended to sow discord within NATO, it is fair to say that this attempt has failed. However, it is likely that this is not going to be the last initiative of this kind, and we have to be brace ourselves for further attacks.
Our Documentation and Analysis Department is currently preparing a report detailing the events and dynamics as well as highlighting what organizations such as the RDI can do. The report is due to be released on the second week of January. However, it has to be said that while we can indeed provide support, it is primarily up to the Polish government to deal with such high-level attacks – task which it is evidently is capable of completing.
That being said, some of the responses from parts of the opposition media as well as some opposition politicians are rather unfortunate and in some cases even irresponsible. For example, it is disappointing to see politicians with years of experience in government suddenly fall into blind activism, and simply discarding the need for a measured response. These calls for rashness emerged mostly in the shape of criticism deriding the President of Poland for not reacting fast enough or that the entire government is doing nothing and that this is the fault of Poland’s ruling party. Even though many of these people should be very well aware of the fact that the crisis management of this kind must not be done in a hasty fashion, they nevertheless insisted on it. This type of behavior is nothing more than the cynical exploitation of a crisis manufactured by a foreign country.
3. As mentioned above, our Documentation and Analysis Department is preparing a report concerning the ongoing diplomatic crisis with Russia. This report will also include an analysis of the reaction Putin’s attacks received in various NATO countries. Membership in the defensive NATO alliance has been one of the main cornerstones of the security policy of every Polish government since Poland’s accession in 1999. It is thus critical to maintain a positive image among our allies. Therefore, I would kindly ask those who are currently living in other NATO countries to share your experiences. If you can tell us how normal people (your friends, acquaintances, colleagues, etc.) felt about Putin’s statements, we would be very grateful.
In case you feel inclined to do so, feel free to send an email to:
with the subject line: Reactions to Putin’s Statements
The link to the RDI Annual Report for 2019 can be found here – LINK
On a final note, we would like to thank you very much for your support. Without your support and generosity, we would not be here. May you and your close ones have a blessed year!