Poland facing more Russian disinformation amid coronavirus: expert

Russia has intensified its disinformation and propaganda attacks on Poland amid the virus pandemic, a security expert has said.

Stanisław Żaryn.

Stanisław Żaryn.Photo: PAP/Tomasz Gzell

Stanisław Żaryn, spokesman for Poland’s security services chief, said in a media interview that Poland has been the target of Russian “information attacks and propaganda” for years.

These kinds of activities have intensified strongly amid the coronavirus crisis, he told public broadcaster Polish Radio in an interview.

Żaryn told Polish Radio’s External Service that Russia was seeking to “take advantage of the coronavirus pandemic in its information war,” while trying to “discredit Poland in the eyes of the rest of Europe.”

Żaryn also said in the interview that Polish security services were “analysing and identifying disinformation activities” aimed against Poland.

“Media outlets known for spreading misinformation are often being used for such activities,” Żaryn said.

He added that Polish security services were “monitoring the internet and social media” for such activities, while also zeroing in on “fake news especially harmful and dangerous for Poland.”

“We are also seeing the dissemination of claims to the effect that the European Union and NATO have ‘completely discredited themselves’ and that these international organisations will in fact be ‘destroyed’ in the time of the coronavirus,” Żaryn also said.

He argued in the interview that Russia was “looking for a community of goals that would help it shake off its international isolation.”

At the same time, Żaryn said, Russia is using the coronavirus crisis to have economic sanctions lifted.

Russia has been trying to portray itself as a country that wants to help other nations fight the coronavirus outbreak, according to Żaryn.

The country has been pushing a narrative according to which it could do more to help other countries battle the coronavirus but international sanctions are preventing it from doing so, Żaryn told Polish Radio.

“The whole world must unite [in the face of the coronavirus], and the Russians are taking advantage of this to bring about a reset in their contacts with the world,” Żaryn said.

“But they are using propaganda tricks for this purpose,” he added.

(gs/pk)

Source: Polish Radio

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