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Geopolitical aspects of the information war
Material posted: Publication date: 26-12-2017
Defence.24: Interference in the electoral process in the United States, France and Germany; operations against the Baltic States, Sweden and Finland; in information and psychological attacks on the country's EU and NATO is only the beginning of a long list of steps being taken by the Kremlin. What if we look at the problem in the context of Poland, plays in the Russian offensive key role: money, people, technology?

Witold yurash (Witold Jurasz): When it comes to talking about the Russian successes in foreign policy, I always remember the name of the most famous film of Leni Riefenstahl (Leni Riefenstahl) — "Triumph des Willens". Russian successes are almost always "triumph of the will". Russia, in fact, a weak state, but she is very serious about this game, and that its approach is different from ours.

Of course, there are Russian agents, operations on misinformation, but I have the impression that many of our failures we blame ourselves. In the last 27 years we are losing the struggle for the future of Ukraine and Belarus, not from Russia. We create "circles of mutual admiration," don't punish people for incorrect forecasts or poor performance, to promote the diplomats, who have not achieved any results during his service in the East. We allow to exist analytical centres, whose work is academic and theoretical rather than applied nature, don't condemn the conformists in the ranks of experts, analysts and diplomats, who yesterday assented to the party "Civic platform" (PO), and today fawn in front of "Law and Justice" (PiS). All these are our own problems, not the result of Russia's actions.

Of course, Russia is taking its steps and initiates some events, but, honestly, 99% of the problems is our fault. It seems to me, policy and expert circles have found a convenient excuse not to analyze its weaknesses. "Evil Russians will not allow us to be effective," they say. This is not so. The Russians to prevent us from being effective, but if we ourselves took the game seriously, we could do better. The Polish Eastern policy is, however, currently bottom. I often notice that it involved individuals with not the most outstanding ability. It's hard to believe that all these people, on account of which there is no merit, owe their careers to the FSB, SVR or GRU.

— The Russian front action is not limited to Ukraine and Belarus. Russia tries to destroy the cohesion of the EU and NATO, to undermine our confidence in partners and institutions, to undermine the foundations of democracy and our system of values.

— All this, of course, there are, however, here too, there is one "but". I was searching for the root causes of the Polish-Russian "reset" and tried to find traces of the fact that it occurred with the filing of Moscow. However, no matter how much I searched, I ran only on the American tracks. I know that Washington put pressure on Warsaw, urging her to normalize relations with Moscow. It's perfectly logical. Imagine that at the time hosted a us-Russian negotiations. What did the Americans, we know that support in the middle East and in negotiations on Iran, stop the export of anti-aircraft missile systems s-300 to that country, the active participation of Russia in the six-party talks on North Korean nuclear program, as well as providing a transit corridor to Afghanistan.

What did the Russians don't normally say, but they, too, needed something. If I was a representative of the Russian side, I would say that the first and the second item is Ukraine, and the third is Belarus, but the primary role she plays. I would've thought, which associated with the USA and Western countries, conducts the most active policy in this direction. The Answer Is Poland. So, sorry, what the Russians reveal their agents (who are in our country, as I suspect, in order to influence the Polish government), if it is enough to say to the Americans, so they asked the poles to calm down. I know that the Polish-American negotiations was dedicated to this topic.

Of course, I don't want to say that the United States and from Russia comes the same danger. For espionage in favor of Moscow should be put in jail, for spying for the United States enough to slap. (Laughs.) We, I think, should begin to do two things that we, as far as I know, don't. First, counterintelligence needs to take care of not only Russian but also Belarusian and Ukrainian Embassy. Secondly, you need to begin espionage operations in the West. I highly doubt that the strong counterintelligence, possessed the East, we can learn something there. I won't even talk about such things as talent, which we willingly did. Perhaps we will be in the West, as he talks with Russia.
Most importantly, during the American-Russian rapprochement may be an amazing way to discover that USA and Russia made a deal, and their interests coincide. I say this as someone who welcomes the U.S. military presence in Poland and advocated an Alliance with Washington.

— Geopolitical context and the relations between the Kremlin and Washington as part of the information war?

— Partly Yes. We usually say that the Russians are cheating the Americans. But the US is the most powerful country in the world, I don't think that if Vladimir Putin throughout led them by the nose, they would have continued to talk to him. No, it doesn't work. Someone plays a major role, someone's a minor, someone who is a global player and someone regional, who is a "strong man", and someone (if you remove the brackets the nuclear potential) has average capabilities. In this pair of Russia is "a Junior partner". Unlike most Polish commentators, I believe that Moscow understands this, so she, in particular, has played a positive (from the point of view of the United States or at least the Obama administration) role in the Syrian conflict.

We all say that the Russians, to put it mildly, lied to Americans, but let's look at this "deception" carefully. If the Russians had not intervened in the situation after Bashar al-Assad used chemical weapons, the US would start bombing Syria. This war is certainly connected to Iran, and this would erase the prospect for conclusion of nuclear agreement with Washington. In the end, the Americans would have to abandon the exit from the Middle East, since Israel would be in danger. Of course, you can say that Benjamin Netanyahu's your opinion on this, but the real threat of a nuclear attack on Israel in a situation where Iran has a nuclear program, no.

Ensuring Israel's security, Americans could shift the center of gravity, that is, to focus on China, which has become for US a serious problem. While there was a threat that Iran may obtain nuclear weapons, Washington had to deal simultaneously with two strategic directions. There is another important point: the refusal of the Iranian nuclear program means that it may refuse and Saudi Arabia.

Of course, it leads with Iran the so-called indirect war in Yemen, but it is not the same as two competing nuclear programs. While nuclear weapons in the hands of the regime of the ayatollahs is not so dangerous as a weapon in the hands of the Saudi regime, we all know that "al-Qaeda" and "Islamic state" (banned in Russia as a terrorist organization — approx. ed.) — is a Sunni and not Shiite groups. First, by the way, created a native of Saudi Arabia.

And finally, there's another important element: care USA, acting as the guarantor of the existence of the Saudi regime, forcing him to engage in internal reforms. The house of Saud could close my eyes to the different antics of the Wahhabi part of the establishment, because the Americans guaranteed his safety. Of course, at the international level guarantees continue to apply, but the focus of Americans has shifted. The more the United States takes place in the direction of South-East Asia, more active in Saudi Arabia begin to crack down on the Wahhabis, which represent a potential risk for the house of Saud. Thus, departing from the Middle East, the Americans contribute to the fight against Islamic fundamentalism, which originates in Iran and in Saudi Arabia. It all started with the fact that because of the actions of the Russians burst into a us-Syrian war. All this complex structure were due to the intervention of Russia. So, the other side needs to make a step back.

— How all this relates to the Polish issues?

— In the clash of powers, we will always be playing a secondary role. In the time of conflict between the US and Russia Poland is always to strengthen the Ukrainian and Belarusian policy direction, and the discharge of tension — move it to the background. So it was, is, and will remain so in the future. We have to adapt, because our security depends on Americans, we can't pursue a policy with which they disagree, however, we must maintain at least a minimum of autonomy and to try to benefit from each another "turn" in U.S.-Russian relations. It is a series of parties, like in poker. Sitting down at the negotiating table, we should get a slightly stronger card than last time, but this requires a minimum autonomy. This is going to sound harsh, but especially there is no choice: we have to be 25% of the American colony. Other options — to become 50% of a colony of German or 100% — Russia. But it is worth remembering that at least 75% of independence we still have.

— The situation in Poland will depend on what happens at a higher level of international politics. However, Russia is satisfied with disinformation and propaganda campaign aimed at us and our partners. How will we protect ourselves once our opportunities for geopolitical reasons?

I think we should elect in the Eastern policy of the method of small steps and not to build ambitious plans. The weakness of our policy is that we always have the concept, but we forget about the tactical level of the "modus operandi". Need to achieve something. You can buy any company, to ensure that the struggle for democracy in Belarus does not become a struggle over the concept of history to the Polish minority in Ukraine does not fall into the arms of the "Russian world" (and it happens) that we were able to provide our partner a specific offer (still have it). Will be quite a success.

Returning to the subject of Russia, I recall that now Facebook and Twitter have gone on cooperation with the American administration. So, in the negotiations with the Americans, it is time for us to say that we expect the same thing, because we had the same problem. We also need to raise the question about blocking fake accounts, decide how to prevent the trolls to work. These questions should be the subject of our talks. We can have our own trolls. In the confrontation between Russia we have the advantage to hurt the Russian regime, will not even have to particularly lie, although personally I could do that, too. Since the war, the war.

And finally, we must wonder, does the Russian regime, that our efforts to democratize it threaten, is not what seems to us to attack, actually counterattack. In this thesis I apparently hurt the feelings of those who believe that the mission of Poland to carry on East democracy (it took education). We believe that the promotion of democracy cannot be called informational aggression, because it is right from a moral point of view. But so what! You should ask yourself a question, is it beneficial to us to do it, who it most harms. Would it not be wise to abandon the struggle with the Russians and to entrust this task to the Americans or the Germans, of course, if they agree.

— Since we are talking about democracy promotion, I'd like to ask you about Belarus.

— Everything is very simple. If to speak as briefly as possible: we make too little to overthrow Lukashenko, but too much to show him that we are making. We have chosen the most stupid policy possible. However, we have no way to overthrow him because we are offended by the Belarusian nomenclature. The reason is traditional: we feel moral superiority and go, proudly talking about their high moral qualities. If in Europe someone is interested! If to use a simple metaphor, we can say that if we are not able to punch someone in the point at the junction of the lower extremities and trunk, it is not necessary to beat on his ankles. But we do precisely that.

— What can you say about the actions of Russia in the field of information and psychological warfare aimed not at the entire West, only for Poland?

— I have the impression that, unfortunately, there is a specific reason that the channel Russia Today there is no Polish version: such a channel we simply don't need. Pious, that is the main part of our right-wing circles, does not need the Russian prompts to talk about the decay of the West, the domination of homosexuals, and gender ideology. Russians are not open, we have office RT, it is enough that the right share their real ideas (for their own reasons), unfortunately, coincide with the Russian. The liberal elite, meanwhile, consider Poland as "a hopeless bride," which has nothing to offer. We have two streams: in one believe that Poland have nothing to say, and in the second they themselves refuse to have the right to vote. What else is there to do about the Russians? Just enough to allow us to be ourselves, as opposed to the nonsense we have is not wisdom, and other nonsense.

But we see specific propaganda and disinformation operation.

— Of course they are, but it seems to me that the Russian propaganda successfully overshadows Polish mutual hatred and stupidity, which throws us from one extreme to another. I conducted an interview with the Russian Ambassador on the channel Polsat News 2, and during our conversation there was a moment when I asked what his tasks are, and he hesitated. According to the unwritten law appoint ambassadors, not intelligence officers, but if they worked in this structure, they are released from duty at the time of incurring the diplomatic service. It seems to me that the Ambassador hesitated to answer my question, not because he couldn't tell about his work on intelligence, and therefore that there are no problems in Poland before him does not put.

They say that during Soviet times, every Soviet Ambassador wanted to work in the Seychelles. Place for a retiree to do nothing, but will give the boat with the flag. I sometimes think that the Ambassador of Russia in Poland is very boring. Will add one more interesting detail (I hope the Ambassador doesn't mind): after the show I thanked him for the interview and jokingly added that the US Ambassador invited me to failed. The Ambassador smiled and said, "this is because it is much more important than me."

— We talk a lot about the veiled actions of Russia that are connected with the informational and psychological impact. How do you evaluate them from the position of the former diplomat?

I remember a time when one high-ranking Belarusian official told me that once the Russians started to solicit to invite Belarusians to Belarus Mateusz Piskorski (Mateusz Piskorski) and even, if possible, to arrange his meeting with Lukashenko. Belarusians decided that the Polish politician is the person with whom they do not want to have anything to do. From this we can draw conclusions. What was needed travel of Piskorski in Belarus? Then, in order to attract attention. In Poland, the Ukraine and even in Russia, he can date whoever he wants, and Belarus is already suspicious country with a certain reputation. That is, the Russians wanted we Piskorski noticed.

Of course, he could be a Russian agent, but certainly not one that produces secret information and making copies of secret documents he could not access them. Also he was not a man who could someone to recruit, because everyone knew that he is Pro-Russian stance. But what-the same role he played, right? If the Russians wanted so badly to attract attention, it is logical to assume that he had another task. Again he couldn't have secrets, and no one was recruited, so he diverts attention from someone else. This begs the question: what did the Polish expert community? Answer: started Piskorski! This means that we were playing a scenario written in Moscow.

Politicians and some experts in Poland and in the West focused their attention on the fake news, but it's not the biggest danger, it's not even the tool which the most active is Russia. Perhaps not all appreciate the true scale of the problem.

— I also got the impression that the Polish expert community focused on fake news. They certainly have played some role in that, to change our attitude to Ukraine, but hardly so important. I think we picked the theme of false news and do some minor things to explain their defeat in the Polish Eastern policy. But, sorry, lesions in this area we suffer here for 27 years, and before was not a fake news, no clear Pro-Russian circles in the country. The person who is in Poland a Pro-Russian stance rather deprive themselves of a political future than gets the chance to move. On the one hand, Moscow itself wants us to be doing these circles, and on the other we are trying to hush up the issues about our performance or the reasons for its ineffectiveness.

I recall the story of one of the countries beyond our Eastern border, Lithuania. During the visit the Presentation of Jaruzelski to Moscow in 1986 or 1987, with the date I could be wrong, the Soviet comrades encouraged Warsaw to do the Polish minority in the Republic. They even called people who, by an amazing coincidence, at the time when Lithuania was struggling for independence, sided with Russia.

So the Russians already in 1985 or 1986, we created scenarios in case the Soviet Union will disintegrate. Once they have considered this scenario, so they cooked the same people in Poland. So if I was looking for Russian agents, including agents of influence, I would closer not to those who became noticeable 2014-2015, and to those who were active in the Eastern policy much longer.

— Maybe we should pay attention to those and others?

Maybe. However "law and Justice" departs further from the legacy of Lech Kaczynski (Lech Kaczyński) not under the influence of radical political figures, some "skinheads" or Internet trolls. This happens as a result of specific actions of young politicians. The onus is on them, not on some radical forces.

Many listeners and viewers in the West and in Poland it is difficult to realize the scale of propaganda and disinformation operations, because many processes are connecting to the diplomatic structure of the state.

— Of course, all that we see. A striking example is here Polish-Russian relations. There is one more circumstance: on both sides of the border are provocateurs who inspires or instructs, even Moscow. Incidents with violence. Victims, fortunately, not yet, but who knows what will happen. The problem lies in the fact that half a dozen provocateurs react thousands of people. Wine, by the way, is on the liberal elites: they thought that if to hush up the topic of Volhynia, it will disappear. In turn, the party "law and Justice" decided not to discuss the Volyn massacre, and to use it as a tool to deal with the problem, and to attract radical voters.

Returning to the aforementioned provocateurs, will remember a story. Once the head of the Dnipropetrovsk oblast Igor Kolomoisky said in an interview as he defeated the separatists, the Ukraine when the war began. His people "took the separatists to the forest and conducted an educational talk with them". Of course, I understand that we have a very different country, but I think if someone works in Poland to another state, and we are on the subject of operational information, we also need to conduct educational conversations (not in the woods, of course). Our state apparatus is able to act tough. We see action against football fans against people involved in website making fun of the President, or against activists that block the marches of Smolensk (monthly event in memory of the victims of the crash of the Polish plane near Smolensk in 2010 — approx.TRANS.). But with people openly supporting our enemy, the state apparatus can not do anything. So it was in the previous government, so it remains at present.

— What do you think about Moscow's reaction to the amendments to the law on decommunization? She launched a campaign, which explained that ungrateful obsessed with Russophobia poles begin to destroy Soviet monuments and cemeteries.

That was to be dismantled, one would carry in one day, and the topic would be closed. News in our time do not live more than two days. Besides, this is nothing new: the Russians are always portrayed poles are Russophobes, it's not going anywhere. We Russians are not the first hundred years of trying to sway Ukraine and Belarus.

Moscow understands that without the help of the West, we have nothing, because to him we try to bring these countries. If so, the Russians will do everything possible to ruin our image in the West of the continent.

The problem is that if we, the Polish government will not demolish these monuments, Russia will contribute to the fact that someone blew them up or, in a burst of civic spirit, pushed by a tractor. Much the same is happening now on the Polish-Ukrainian front.
So even if we give up the idea to demolish these monuments, the Russians will find someone who will do it for us. By the way, I wonder, are we gonna see the same people who are now destroying the Ukrainian monuments. It is theoretically possible to imagine that Poland will decide to withdraw from demolition, for example, for foreign policy reasons. You have to imagine it, I personally do not believe that someone, especially under the government of "Law and Justice", is able to make such a decision.

So you should deal with this problem once and for all, and on the day when we do that, the President and the Prime Minister needs to lay wreaths at the Soviet war cemetery. We show in this step that the problem was in the monuments, but not in the necropolis. If Ronald Reagan was able to lay a wreath at the cemetery, where are buried the soldiers of the Waffen SS, we might even be able to lay a few flowers at the cemetery of ordinary soldiers (not even the NKVD). Should do what we can't do in the context of the dismantling of monuments to soldiers of the Ukrainian insurgent army (banned in Russia as extremist organization — approx.ed.).

— Is it real?

— No. I climbed into the sphere of fiction, because you and I understand that no one will do, right?

Adam Lelonek (Adam Lelonek)


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