Poland’s government has corrected ten lies told by Vladimir Putin during his interview on Thursday with American commentator Tucker Carlson. It notes that none of the Russian president’s falsehoods were challenged by Carlson, whom Poland’s speaker of parliament called a “useful idiot”.
The list of ten lies, published by the Polish foreign ministry, focuses in particular on Putin’s revisionist version of history, which he has also often promoted in the past.
President Vladimir Putin’s 10 lies on Poland 🇵🇱 and Ukraine 🇺🇦, to which Tucker Carlson was silent.
Read the entire MFA statement ⬇️https://t.co/tAcHt8ce2g
— Ministry of Foreign Affairs 🇵🇱 (@PolandMFA) February 9, 2024
During the interview, the Russian president repeated his previous claims that Poland was itself responsible for Nazi Germany’s decision to invade it in 1939 and that the Soviet Union subsequently regained its historical lands that had been part of interwar Poland.
In fact, as Poland’s foreign ministry notes, the war began after Hitler and Stalin had agreed under the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact to divide up Poland between them.
Nazi Germany invaded Poland on 1 September 1939 and the Soviet Union did so two weeks later. Subsequently, “Soviet Russia and Hitler’s Germany cooperated in concert until June 1941”, notes the Polish ministry.
⚡️ Putin said the Poles forced Hitler to attack them in 1939.
Hitler just wanted to „realize his plans” and Poland was „uncooperative” and „forced” Hitler to attack and start World War II, Putin said.
So, 1939, late August.
Hitler: Poland, we want to annex you, agree!
— Anton Gerashchenko (@Gerashchenko_en) February 9, 2024
“The USSR incorporated Poland’s eastern territory as the result of armed aggression while Poland was fending off the German invasion. It stabbed the Polish state in the back,” wrote the Polish foreign ministry.
“So-called people’s referenda held by the Soviets on Poland’s eastern borderlands were accompanied by terror and rig[ging],” it added. “Lviv and the then provinces of Lviv and Stanisławów (today’s Western Ukraine) have never been a part of the Russian Empire. Nor was the Vilnius region a historical part of Russia.”
Poland also rejected Putin’s suggestion during the interview that the Ukrainian state is an artificial creation established by Lenin and Stalin.
“Today’s Ukraine emerged as a state thanks to [the] Ukrainian national movement,” wrote the Polish foreign ministry. “The Bolsheviks did not establish it but merely conquered it to set up one of the Soviet republics. Ukraine emerged at the will of Ukrainians themselves….Nobody ‘invented’ the Ukrainian nation.”
❌ He said Poland had ‘forced’ Hitler to declare war in 1939 by being ‘uncooperative’ with his plans
✔️ Hitler’s plans included the extermination of Poland’s Slavs and Jews, and its repopulation with Germans. The so-called Polish provocation used as a pretext for the invasion…
— Mikhail Khodorkovsky (@khodorkovsky_en) February 9, 2024
Focusing on some of Putin’s false claims regarding more recent events, Poland noted that there are no NATO bases in Ukraine, that no coups d’état took place in Ukraine to artificially break ties with Russia, and that Moscow did not occupy Crimea in 2014 to defend it from any threats.
As well as the foreign ministry’s list identifying ten of Putin’s lies, other figures from Poland’s current governing coalition also condemned Carlson’s interview with the Russian president.
“Mr Carlson played the role of useful idiot,” said Szymon Hołownia, the speaker of parliament, referring to a Cold War-era term used to describe non-communists who could be exploited to further the communist cause. “He gave the microphone to a liar, a murderer and an international terrorist.”
“Putin, of course, was talking nonsense in this interview. His historical and literary reflections about Poland can be falsified by a person who has finished the fourth grade of primary school and is at least a little interested in the history of the region,” added Hołownia.
Hołownia: Carlson zagrał rolę pożytecznego idioty. Podstawił mikrofon kłamcy, mordercy i międzynarodowemu terroryście#300POLITYKALIVEhttps://t.co/3Fs2tqTt3r
— 300Polityka (@300polityka) February 9, 2024
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Main image credit: Tucker Carlson Network/YouTube
Daniel Tilles is editor-in-chief of Notes from Poland. He has written on Polish affairs for a wide range of publications, including Foreign Policy, POLITICO Europe, EUobserver and Dziennik Gazeta Prawna.