On Friday, one Russian legislator sparked global news reports about a possible Russian invasion of Poland. Oleg Morozov, a member of Russia’s State Duma, said on his official Telegram page that Russia may seek to “denazify” Poland after the so-called “special military operation” in Ukraine comes to an end.
Responding to comments by Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki about Russian President Vladimir Putin’s propaganda campaigns, Morozov warned that Poland could face the same fate as Ukraine.
“By its statements about Russia as a ‘cancer tumor’ and about the ‘indemnity’ that we must pay to Ukraine, Poland encourages us to put it in first place in the queue for denazification after Ukraine,” Morozov told his Russian-speaking followers.
The term “denazification” has been used since the outbreak of the war in Ukraine. Russian President Vladimir Putin cited Ukraine’s white nationalist Azov Battalion, a volunteer unit of the National Guard of Ukraine, as an example of Ukraine’s neo-Nazi sensibilities. In March, Putin appeared at Moscow’s Luzhniki stadium before tens of thousands of people, standing in front of banners that read “For a World Without Nazism.”
After justifying the invasion of Ukraine as a mission to remove Nazis from a neighboring country, Morozov’s comments clearly indicate a threat of invasion.
Morozov is not, however, a representative of the Kremlin. The Russian legislator does not have any decision-making power, nor is there any evidence to suggest that the Kremlin shares his view on invading Poland.
What Prompted the Outburst?
“Putin’s ‘Russkiy Mir’ ideology is the equivalent of 20th-century communism and Nazism. It is an ideology through which Russia justifies invented rights and privileges for its country,” Morawiecki said in the piece.
The Polish PM added that the Kremlin was convincing Russian soldiers of their “superiority” over Ukrainians, which prompted the soldier to “commit inhuman war crimes” including the “murder, rape and torture of innocent civilians.”
Poland has been used as a center of training and other operations designed to help Ukraine since the outbreak of the war. Sharing a border with Ukraine, Poland has hosted multiple world leaders including U.S. President Joe Biden. The country also pushed the United States to assist in transferring 28 MiG-29 jets, which are Soviet-era planes Ukrainian pilots are familiar with, back in March.
For these reasons alone, Russia may feel it has cause to retaliate against Poland – but with a missile shortage, low troop morale, the failure of Russian troops to take control of Kyiv, and increasingly severe sanctions levied against Russia, an invasion in Poland seems unlikely.
Jack Buckby is a British author, counter-extremism researcher, and journalist based in New York. Reporting on the U.K., Europe, and the U.S., he works to analyze and understand left-wing and right-wing radicalization, and reports on Western governments’ approaches to the pressing issues of today. His books and research papers explore these themes and propose pragmatic solutions to our increasingly polarized society.