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Thunder from the East
in Polish media and internet:
lessons to be learned
Andrzej Krajewski, freedom of speech expert,
National Broadcasting Council of Poland
Vilnius, 29 October 2014
Poland, Lithuania
and Ukraine:
common history
Before the first
partition of Poland
(1772) large part
of today’s Ukraine
belonged to the
Open borders instead of breaking them
After 1989 Polish politicians
have not claimed any change
of borders as set up in 1945.
In Feb. 2008 in Moscow Vladimir
Putin, supposedly started talk
with Polish PM Donald Tusk
on such a note:
Ukraine is an artificial country,
Lwow is a Polish city,
why don’t we just sort it out
He repeated that notion about
Ukraine publicly in Bucharest,
during NATO summit in the
summer of 2008.
March 2014: Duma’s offer
Russian Duma offered
Poland partition of Ukraine.
Author of the official letter:
Vladimir Zyrinowski.
Duma’s Deputy Speaker.
The offer supposedly went
also to Hungary
and Romania.
Polish Foreign Ministry
thanked for the letter.
Ukrainian Orange Revolution of 2004
„It is hard to falsify elections when
over 13 000 international observers
are watching them.
It is even harder to condemn
demanding democracy
by your own citizens, when the world
is watching you through cameras
of BBC, CNN and other broadcasters”.
(Mykola Riabczuk in „Ukraina 2004:
Reports of Polish observers
of presidential elections”
Ajaks 2005)
Ukrainian Maidan of 2013/2014
Public and private Polish media have been
reporting from Kiev’s Maidan almost every day.
Evening news were often hosted from there
and other places of fighting. For weeks Ukraine
has been on the very top of news agenda.
Polish public was given constant feed of news
and pictures. Sometimes they were so brutal
that NBC fined TVP, the public broadcaster
for showing a dying man on Kiev’s street.
Trap of „neutral” language
The language used by media envoys
in Ukraine and their editors in Poland
was western-style: neutral.
„Russian invasion of Ukraine”?
No, there was no decisive proof of it.
Better say “the Ukrainian crisis”.
„Russian soldiers” in Crimea and south provinces of
No, better say “separatists” or “rebels.”
Why not „ foreign soldiers” ?
Why not „terrorists” as Ukrainians prefere to call them?
Those fighting against the Ukrainian armed forces
are „pro-Russians”. Why not simply „Russians”?
It became publicly known in March 2014, when
Russian president Vladimir Putin acknowledged it
in his triumphant Crimea speech.
Trap of resentments
Recently Polish portal informed
that president Petro Poroshenko established
new Defender of Motherland Day
on October 14th. called it
„the end of chances for Polish-Ukrainian
reconcliation” because Oct.14 is the
anniversary of formation of Ukrainian
Insurgent Army (Polish acronym UPA),
responsible for murders of thousands
of Poles in Kresy.
October 14,1942 as UPA day of origin was introduced in the 90s.of XX century.
This day Feast of Intercession of the Holy Virgin is celebrated in the East Ortodox Church.
Ukrainian portal mentioned it in the title of Poroshenko’s decision
Connection between Defender of Motherland Day and origin day of UPA was set up
by Russian trolls working through Bielorussian internet site Chartia 97 (
Trap of internet trolls
Over 80 percent of „under the line” comments
about Russian agression in Ukraine is
anti-Polish, anti-Ukrainian and pro-Russian.
Mr Prime Minister Tusk, please explain why
we are getting f**ked by Ukrainians?
Since when they have been our friends?
Even if you don’t like Russians, you have to
admit that Crimea action was a stabilizing
operation. There is nothing to cry about or
getting angry of. And flexing the muscles
is against Polish raison d’etat.
The only aim of Americans is now to get
material goods. And those tyrans dare to
dictate the conditions to Russia?
Russia has third biggest army of hackers in the world in Petersburg, Kazan, Chelabinsk.
Up to 100 comments a day for less then 600 euros a month.
„Defend Russia” net group and similiar up to 2 000 Poles joined.
Internet: monitor the comments
„The Guardian” : 40 000
comments checked daily
Elimination of hundreds
of them, especially dealing
with articles of correspondent
in Moscow, Luke Harding
„Frankfurter Allgemeine
Zeitung”: you are able
to comment only if you
are previously registered
and provide your name
and login.
The same should be done
in all Polish sites
where you can comment.
Media language:
analyse and explain
Point out to the problem, using existing
analysis, such as:
„Russian disinformation
and Western misconceptions”
by John Besemeres, Inside Story,
Have language analysis done
by media scholars in Poland
Raise the problem
with editorial teams
on a conference organized
by NBC of Poland
Resentments: change perspective
Try to root out ideology from
• discuss „national shame”
• fill in black holes
• exchange perspectives
with historical enemies
and neighbours
Expolore „what if ?” history
books, such as:
• Ribbentrop – Beck Pact
• Madness 44
• German Option
Thank you
Andrzej Krajewski freedom of speech expert National Broadcasting Council of Poland
e-mail: [email protected]

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